15 Types of Japanese Art and Cultural Techniques

Japanese art has inspired and attracted attention from all over the world. Art in Japan can be expressed in many ways, not only in artistic works but even in the dress, cuisine, architecture and urbanism of cities.

Over the years unique methods have been developed that surprise more and more people. In this article, we will talk a little about some types of Japanese arts. Although the article mentions 15, we will probably mention dozens of them.

Shodo - The Japanese art of California

Shodo [書道] is the art of Japanese calligraphy that is done with a brush. It is highly stylized and often almost unreadable. The art evolved mainly in temples and has been heavily influenced by Japanese Buddhism.

Shodo works are often better viewed than landscape painting. Most Japanese appreciate this art that takes years of dedication. Sometimes art is over the limit, which is necessary to write using a broom.

Girl making a giant shodo!
Girl making a Giant Shodo!

Manga - Japanese drawings

Mango [漫画] are Japanese comic books. It is something highly valued in Japan and the rest of the world, a drawing style that can be seen both in the manga themselves and in books, games and TV animations.

Manga appeared around 1760 and is currently responsible for almost all entertainment shown in Japan, in addition to art, its stories and genres have no limits. Thousands of manga with different stories are released weekly in Japan.

It’s not just in the comics, you’ll end up finding a painted wall or a school blackboard with manga style art.

Manga - the art of Japanese drawings
A manga style art

Origami - The art of folding paper

Origami [折り紙] is the Japanese art of folding paper to create decorative art. With origami they create representations of certain beings or objects with geometric folds of a piece of paper, without cutting or pasting it.  

Origami is a classic thing that every schoolchild in Japan learns about making herons (tsuru). According to the myth, anyone who makes a thousand origami herons is granted a wish. And there are people who do this:

Origami - the art of folding paper
The famous 100 origami tsuru made to bring some luck and miracle

Kirigami - The art of cutting paper

Kirigami [切り紙] (means cutting paper) is like origami, except that the paper can be cut to create more elaborate designs. Kirigami are made from a single piece of paper without gluing.

Kirigami - Japanese paper-cutting art
Japanese art in Kirigami

Amigurumi - The art of knitting

Amigurumi [あみぐるみ] is a Japanese technique for creating small dolls made from crochet or knitting. Despite the popularity of stuffed animals and dolls, the technique is also used for objects such as household items and food with anthropomorphic characteristics.

Amigurumi - knitting art
Mds, they knitted the devil! lol

Temari - Handball Art

Temari [手毬], meaning "hand ball", is a folk art that is created from ancient kimono headquarters. They are made for children to play, the outside of the ball is made with very detailed embroidery.  

In the past it was common for countries to place papers with wishes for their children at the center of the temari.

Famous temari balls

Art in the Rice Field

They are images made with rice plantations of different types. It is a relatively new tradition, which began in the 1990s in Inakadate, a small northern town that was looking for a way to boost the local economy. 

The city has only 8,000 inhabitants and more than 1,000 participate in the planting of this art. Success has taken art in Arrozal to other cities.

Art in rice
Inakadate Rice Art

Well, there are thousands of other arts left to be mentioned here, in the future we created another article talking about other arts. In the meantime, leave your comment, and share so that everyone can get to know wonderful Japanese art.

Arts with Food - Bento e Kaiseki

Creativity and aesthetics are part of Japanese cuisine. One is the bento (lunchbox) that are prepared with the greatest care and ingredients are selected not only for their taste and nutrition, but also for their color and shape.

Japanese lunch boxes carry an artistic tone, showing that the appearance of meals is also important. Even though obento is not made to look like a work of art, they are usually organized and usually have some character.

The same thing happens in Kaiseki, which is known for its meticulous preparation and beautiful presentation. It is also one of the most expensive Japanese meals. These meals are usually divided into up to 14 different types of dishes.

Japanese Bento Lunch Boxes
A traditional bendo, even without drawings, is still artistic.

Japanese Martial Arts

In addition to traditional arts, Japan is also known for its numerous martial arts. We've even written an article just talking about the 10 Japanese Martial Arts. Each has its own distinct characteristics.

We can mention Judo, Kendo, Iaido sword art, Kyudo archery, Yabusame shooting on the horse, Aikido, Karate, Ninjutsu and Koryu. In fact, when reading the article you will find an extensive list with more than 100 different Japanese martial arts.

Kendo, a Japanese martial art.
This is Kendo, a Japanese martial art.

Ikebana - Art of Flower Arrangements

The Ikebana it is an ancient art whose objective is based on arranging flowers, leaves and natural branches in full harmony with the vases and thus giving life to the flower. Ikebana [生け花] literally means live flowers, a Japanese art focused on flower arrangement.

The art ikebana it is known for its focus on stems and leaves, rather than the flowers themselves. Thus creating a floral arrangement with linear, rhythmic and colorful harmony. Art also has several different sub-styles and categories.

Kintsugi - The art of healing vessels

Kintsugi is known as the Japanese art of healing scars with gold. This art consists of restoring broken vases and pottery with molten gold. Sometimes this restoration leaves the object as valuable as the original.

Lacquered objects [connected, joined] are very traditional in Japan, there are several techniques involving lacquer that probably gave rise to the technique. Kintsugi has become a philosophy of accepting the imperfect and defective. 

Kintsugi - the art of healing vessels
Some vessels that applied the Kintsugi technique!

Japanese art in the Theater - Kabuki and Bunraku

The Japanese have their own style of art when it comes to traditional theaters. We have the famous Kabuki which consists of highly stylized performances, costumes and extravagant sets where men usually dress up as women.

We also have the Bunraku the only type of doll theater that it uses to decorate the bunraku, the only type of puppet theater to use three puppeteers to conduct a single puppet. Not to mention other forms of traditional theater.

15 types of Japanese art and cultural techniques
Bunraku Theater

Chanoyu - The Japanese Art of Drinking Tea

THE tea ceremony Japanese is a traditional activity in which green tea matcha [抹茶] is prepared ceremonially and served to guests in an environment of simplicity and goodwill, surrounded by peace, respect, harmony and purity.

The tea ceremony practitioner needs to have knowledge of traditional arts, architecture, landscape gardening and floral arts. Including cultivation and varieties of tea, Japanese clothing (kimono), calligraphy, ceramics, etiquette and incense. 

Tea ceremony in japan
Tea Ceremony in Japan

Soroban - The Japanese Art of Calculating

You probably met an abacus as a child, but the soroban it's totally different. Some Japanese people take learning and handling the abacus seriously even faster than a calculator.

Soroban is not just a toy, it is a tool that many dedicate years of practice in order to achieve the skill called anzan soroban [暗算そろばん] or soroban mental allowing the person to make gigantic calculations without the instrument.

Japanese abacus
Japanese Abacus

Haikai - Art of Japanese Poetry

Haikai or Haiku is the art of saying the maximum with the minimum, which captures a moment of experience, an instant when the simple suddenly reveals its inner nature and makes us look again at the observed, human nature, life ...

It is a traditional style of poetry that consists of 17 Japanese syllables. The Haikan values conciseness and objectivity, many poets were Zen Buddhists, who expressed their thoughts in the form of myths, symbols, paradoxes and poetic images.

Haikai - Japanese poetry.
An example of Haiku composed by Oshima Ryota.

If you want to know more about Japanese Art, read the countless articles on our website. Thank you very much for reading our article, share and leave your comments.

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