Thursday, May 10

Japanese master making a traditional bow from scratch

Doesn't this just look cool? (photo)

Sometimes I get frustrated with the painstaking efforts of Japanese artists. You might have seen one of these documentaries (the camera pans in on the light playing off a wooden shape):
Here, Osaragi-san slowly polishes the outside of his cedar bowl with his fingernail. He blows the dust away through filter paper as to not impose his own germs upon the art. He will now place the bowl outside for 5 days moving it to always face the sun. If the humidity reaches 65 percent this bowl will be abandoned and used for scrap wood. To think, the finished product is only 19 weeks away from its last shellac coat.
I jest only because this kind of art is something of which most Americans are just not capable. I don't have the patience to "perfect" anything artsy. In fact, I usually cut a lot of corners when the going gets rough and compromise my original intention selling my soul to the devil of sloth. I'm guessing the average Japanese might understand my complete indifference with such tedious perfection as well. But Japanese artists have this special capability as if it's genetic.

Master Kikunaga is simply a master in this same vein. In this video it's apparent he has this unwavering patience to create a zen-like masterpiece of a bow, or yumi. Also, more importantly, the video is pretty darn interesting (excuse the subtitles and German voice-over).


  1. Where is the Cedar bowl. I didn't see it at all.

    1. Haha, sorry for the confusion, but that part was just an introductory example of how I perceive some of these kind of documentaries where someone seems really deep in focus over something boring, small, or in some other way goes over my head.


You should probably engage in some conversation.