Products of the Local Cultures and Environments

Japanese Baskets



Can you guess the use of this basket? To place flowers? To carry farm produce? I am sure it can be used in many other ways too, but its most authentic usage was to scoop out water that has gone inside a boat. This basket is made in Okinawa, an island surrounded by water. The material used to make the basket is a kind of betel leaf known as Kuba to the locals. On the Okinawa islands, betel leaves are widely used in the rituals and ceremonies. Since the locals see it as a magical plant that can connect one to the gods, it carries a strong significance in the Okinawa culture and history.


日光土心(Light and Will)是一家網上商店,同時也是一個以籃子為中心,與日本民藝相關的計劃。店主前田征紀自2013年起,走訪日本各地收集籃子,同時拜訪製作籃子的工匠,了解當地的人文風景,現時已經成為推動日本民藝的重要一員。2016年,日光土心開始於福岡、東京等城市,展出及售賣其藏品,讓更多人了解籃子作為民藝品及生活用品的魅力。本月23日起,日光土心將走進伊賀的Gallery Yamahon,舉辦名為「日本の籠 その記憶」(日本之籃 及其記憶)的展覽,用籃子說著關於風土人情的故事。

Various kinds of baskets are produced in many regions in Japan. Similar to this Kuba basket, the Japan-made baskets are closely related to the local environment. The relationship can often be seen in their usages and materials. The artisans would use the handy materials to make the baskets and turn them into practical items that have a high aesthetic value. For instance, Amur grape is a species native to Akita Prefecture, the local artisans would use their stems to weave baskets. The Amur grape stem is very long and twisted, it is therefore rather time-consuming to weave it into a basket. To retain the natural beauty of the material, the artisans tend to avoid twisting the stems too tightly together. The making of a basket appears to have manifested the condition of how human co-exist with nature.

Light and Will is an online shop that is keen on promoting Japanese arts and crafts. Using baskets as the main focus of the project, the shop owner has traveled to various regions in Japan since 2013 to collect baskets and to talk to the basket makers. His effort in understanding local Japanese cultures has made him an important member of advocating Japanese arts and crafts. In 2016, Light and Will began to set up shops in Fukuoka, Tokyo, and other cities to exhibit and sell their collection. This is a step to showcase to the general public the charisma of baskets; both as a form of arts and crafts, as well as an everyday item. Starting from the 23rd of December, Light and Will will be holding an exhibition called Japanese Baskets and the Memories. The baskets will become storytellers that narrate stories of local cultures, environments, customs, and practices.