Shopping for Japanese antiques and folkcraft presents intriguing, yet mystifying choices. Kotatsu, futon covers, furoshiki, ran ma, unusual pieces of porcelain...so many things uniquely Japanese. The categories are broad and the choices, inviting. Gradually, the collector mentally sorts things out, learns the purpose and potential of various objects, and makes selections appropriate for the Western home. Peggy Rao and Jean Mahoney telescope the learning process by showing how some foreign residents in Tokyo have incorporated 77 different kinds of antiques and folkcraft into their Western homes. Each instance is inventive, since every photograph shows a Japanese object used in a different role from its original function. A hibachi becomes a display chest, narrow yukata fabric becomes an ingenious window decoration, a bamboo screen conceals a TV. Some acquisitions are inexpensive solutions to decorating problems. Some reflect the expertise of the professional designers whose own homes are included in the photographs. Some are total transformations, inspired by various Japanese art forms. Toshiaki Sakuma's artistic photographs, taken in 45 different homes, capture the beauty of this West-East merger in interior design. Many of the items photographed have disappeared from everyday life in Japan. Some are puzzles even to the Japanese under the age of 50. The accompanying text reveals the background of all the objects shown, and suggests why they might be worth acquiring from an artistic point of view. The book becomes not only a shopping guide, but also an introductory overview to the Japanese culture for visitors, residents and anyone, anywhere, interested in Japanese treasures. Turning the pages, the reader finds aesthetic ways to turn kimono into wall hangings, nine different uses for an obi besides wearing one, a good reason to look through piles of work garments at open markets, and the answer to why there are so many wooden fish on long poles in antique stores. Certain craft processes are explained, along with the symbolism of such recurring design motifs as the pine, plum and bamboo. The authors also provide an up-to-date list of shopping sources for antiques and folkcraft in Japan, the United States and Canada.
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Mahoney Rao is a Kodansha International author.Review:
"A beautiful book, excellently and lovingly made and appropriately priced. What a perfect gift for so many friends round the world, especially when there exists a deep and growing interest in the flavor of Japanese decor throughout the West... Certainly the decorating book you need to make Japan a part of your life in a way that is both a pleasure to view and a joy to live with. A thoroughly recommended addition to any Japanophile's bookshelf." -- Journal of the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan, March 1988
"Even if you're not an art lover, you will surely be fascinated by creative Westerners' ideas applied to Japan's treasures, often made out of bamboo, clay, paper and other humble indigenous materials...It not only serves as a guide for shopping but is also meant as an overview of Japanese culture." -- Japanese Economic Journal, October 29, 1988
"Japanese Accents in Western Interiors has been a surprise best seller for a book of its type both across the Pacific and in Japan. It has created a surge of interest among Japanese who are more used to thinking of their cultural heritage as simply old-fashioned, and who are startled to find foreigners more appreciative than themselves." -- Asia Magazine, Hong Kong
"One of the main benefits of the book, along with its excellent photography, is the way in which it demonstrates just how one can incorporate Japanese items into a Western homes without any major clash of culture or utility." -- Daily Yomiuri, June 5, 1988
"To me, the whole point of reading about design is to derive inspiration from new ideas, and if you share that perspective, I can heartily recommend a book that's filled with unusual but still practical solutions." -- The Palm Beach Post, April 8, 1990
"With sales in the United States, Australia, New Zealand and Southeast Asia, the book has proved to be one of the 73-year-old Tokyo publisher's most successful English language books to date." -- The Japan Times, May 28, 1989
Rao and Mahoney were surprised to discover that their book, first published in Japan and intended as a general background to help the many foreigners transferred to Japan...was a hit among the Japanese themselves. Although the book concentrates on Japanese artifacts, the ideas would apply to any ethnic designs." -- New York Daily News, October 13, 1988
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Book Description Japan Publications Trading, 1997. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110870409883