–It’s been almost two months since the opening of the D-BROS GINZA SIX store. Please tell us again what D-BROS wants to do and convey at a place such as Ginza, and about D-BROS’s activities at GINZA SIX.

miyata:First, there is the relationship between a globalized, modern society and the Japanese people’s way of life. In Japan, there are four seasons, flowers bloom in profusion, there are many rivers, and it can also be called the country of water. In Japan, there are temperate areas, and severely cold regions. In many ways, I think that Japan’s seasons are prolific. In the midst of this abundance, there are traditional crafts that have sprung up and have been cultivated.

Most of these crafts are tools that are used in some parts of daily life. The seasons always have a connection to these traditional crafts.

Traditional crafts are a part of culture that were born to accommodate the changing of the seasons and the lines that separate them. After a long time, after techniques have been perfected, and after these form a single entity, we can say that traditional crafts have become traditional Japanese culture.

However, to a globalized, modern society, these traditional crafts aren’t things that pass muster throughout the world – they merely become classic, old things.


–Why is that?

miyata:What I’ve been feeling a lot is “hareno hi” an event that symbolizes Shinto shrine festivals, and held to pray for the “lines” that separate the seasons. Also, there is the Nijushi Sekki, or the “junctures” between seasons.

The “lines” that separate the seasons are the events we celebrate on special days such as festivals that pray for the growth and harvest of crops, the beginning of the year, weddings, and funerals.

The “junctures” are the changing of the seasons, such as the rise in temperature and humidity, extreme heat and cold, the blowing of the winds, the coming of a storm, the ebb and flow of the tides – these are the times when changes have an effect on the human body.

Daily life and traditional crafts exists in these “lines” and “junctures.” This means that traditional crafts were connected to people’s daily lives. I think that for the Japanese, “junctures” were very important things in their lives.

However, these events have gradually disappeared, and at the same time, traditional crafts have been forced out of society. I think that it is important for us designers to consider how we can preserve traditional techniques in this world.

–So that’s the aim of our activities at GINZA SIX.

miyata:Yes, it is. Precisely because (our store) is in Ginza, it is possible for us to achieve it. GINZA SIX suggested this theme, which is why we put up shop.

–All of the products at the GINZA SIX store were developed from scratch – what are your thoughts about this?

miyata:I started with thinking of things that we had to preserve, so we re-examined “kamon,” or family crests, from which our graphic design originated. I also considered other strongly attractive traditional crafts from various parts of Japan that require a high-level techniques such as metal spinning, lacquer, gold or silver lacquer, washi paper, and woven fabric design. I didn’t think of these as traditional crafts, rather, I thought that it was important to make something out of ideas from these techniques, our graphic design and new mechanisms.



–What do you think of the role of design in preserving traditional crafts?

miyata:Traditional crafts are part of Japanese culture, and they are also our riches. They aren’t only things to be looked at in museums. When these crafts don’t have a part in our daily lives, the people who have the techniques to make these crafts won’t be needed anymore, and will disappear someday. There may be different ways of preserving techniques used in traditional crafts, but without a system of inheriting these techniques, these techniques won’t survive. Most of the traditional crafts in many of the developed countries in the world are on the verge of being lost. But in this sense, it is clear that Japan’s traditional crafts continue to survive…Modern daily life has completely changed, and if the usage of traditional crafts doesn’t change, these crafts will become obsolete. If we don’t think of the purpose of developing products, we will end up with useless things.

There will be a need to make full use of techniques applicable to modern life that came from the way these techniques themselves are expressed. Traditional, high-level techniques cannot be established in our daily lives as they are.

Within modern industrial products, there are products that are the result of changing traditional craft techniques into mass production systems. There may come a time when craftsmen will have to change the old ways of making things and using modern systems.

However, making traditional craftsmen change and make full use of methods that employ IT is a very difficult issue. There may be a need to create environments wherein different kinds of people can be involved in traditional crafts.

In such environments, I feel that it may always be necessary to recognize the importance of making things by hand.

–After opening the store, what was the response?

miyata:Um, we couldn’t really convey our thoughts and aims. Once again, I keenly feel that even Japanese people don’t value traditional techniques and culture! But actually opening and running the store, I feel that many people have re-recognized their own “family” after seeing kamon (family crests) in the store. I feel that families that have been separated have begun to come together under an emblem that is a family crest.

Among the 20,000 kamon in existence, we were only able to gather 350 of them in a book, so people have said that they couldn’t find their own kamon. My biggest discovery after opening the store is being prepared to continue with the kamon theme hereon.


–That’s right, even though it’s tough, there is value in continuing with it. Lastly, could you tell us your vision from hereon?

miyata:I think that will be thinking about how to inherit traditional techniques not in their classic, old form, but by utilizing our design skills – we who live in modern times.

If we don’t circulate these techniques as products, we will probably lose our traditional crafts and skilled craftsmen. There are too many issues in preserving traditional crafts which are Japan’s important riches for the future, but we at D-BROS will face these challenges as the work that we have to do.


The D-BROS GINZA SIX Store  http://db-shop.jp/ginza/

Satoru Miyata
Born in 1948 in Chiba Prefecture. CEO of DRAFT Inc.. Creative Director. Joined the Nippon Design Center in 1966. Received an honorable mention from the Japan Advertising Artists Club in 1969. After leaving the Nippon Design Center in 1970, established the Satoru Miyata Design Office in 1978. The company name was changed to DRAFT in 1989. Launched D-BROS in 1995, and commenced product design development and sales. Awarded the Asahi Advertising Award, the ADC Tokyo Art Directors Club Grand Prize, and the Yamana Prize of the Japan Advertising Awards. Subject of the book “Design Suru Na” (Don’t Design) by Keiichiro Fujisaki / DNP Art Communications.

▼Archived dialogue with Satoru Miyata
Part 1 of A Dialogue with Satoru Miyata: Preparation is Courage
Part 2 of A Dialogue with Satoru Miyata: “Everything Else is Trivial After my Encounter with Trees.”
Part 3 of A Dialogue with Satoru Miyata (First Half), with Two Guests from KIGI (Ryosuke Uehara and Yoshie Watanabe)
Part 3 of A Dialogue with Satoru Miyata (Second Half), with Two Guests from KIGI (Ryosuke Uehara and Yoshie Watanabe)
Part 4 of a Dialogue with Satoru Miyata – Taking a Look Back at KYOTO Design Lab’s Past Year
Part 5 of a Dialogue with Satoru Miyata – What a Product Ought to Be

▼Back issues about D-BROS at GINZA SIX
D-BROS’s Traditional Crafts Project “D-BROS at GINZA SIX” Wins the ADC Member Award!
Lacquered Bunkobako (Stationery and Letter Boxes): Traditional Crafts Meet Limited Edition Products to Commemorate the Opening of D-BROS GINZA SIX
The D-BROS GINZA SIX STORE, A New Concept Store by D-BROS is Now Open!

▼D-BROS at GINZA SIX products which won the ADC Member Award may be purchased at the D-BROS WEB STORE.

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