My fascination with traditional Japanese artists

My fascination with traditional Japanese artists

My very first serious attempt at a video documentary was a 30-minute feature on well decorated but widely unknown bamboo artist named Tanaka Kyokusho.

At the time I’d only recently decided to embark on a journey to become a journalist and the act of creating a documentary was enlightening, challenging and fascinating.

My 2007 documentary on Tanaka Kyokusho

The video – originally uploaded in four parts due to YouTube’s time restrictions in place at the time – remains my most popular video on my personal YouTube channel.

I’ve since teamed up with my wife – who has also worked as a reporter/presenter – to shoot a shorter video featuring Tanaka Kyokusho’s son/apprentice Shigeki.

I made this video a few months before getting my first job as a journalist

Although I look back at these videos with pride, there are a lot of things I’d do differently now that I’ve got all of these years of experience working professionally as a journalist.

So this year when I returned to live in Japan for the first time as a journalist, I was determined to find some people involved in traditional Japanese arts and showcase their work.

The house we stayed in had a beautiful set of carved transoms above the sliding doors that I later learned were called ranma and my wife helped me find a woodcarver working nearby who created them.

He was more than happy to let me film him and he was extremely accommodating with all of my requests.

I tried shopping the video around, but I knew it was quite a niche offering and ultimately decided to upload it to my personal social media accounts.

This is Takamatsu-based ranma woodcarver Jun’ichi Asakura in three minutes.