New York City's Japan Society offers a workshop in the art of Watoji, or Japanese book binding, led by mixed media artist Amanda Hu. In this workshop, participants will learn how to stitch together a personalized notebook, journal or scrapbook using traditional Japanese sewing techniques. Attendees of all skill levels will leave this workshop with a greater appreciation for traditional bookbinding as well as a charming memento of their experience.
Americans interested in Japanese cultural history will find much to enjoy at the Mingei Museum in San Diego, where Kanban: Traditional Shop Signs of Japan (on display through October 8) displays historic shop signs made from panels of lacquered wood, silk thread skeins, bamboo, iron, stone and other materials. This exhibit offers new insights into Japan’s commercial and artistic roots, and invites visitors to explore the evolution of trade as well as the fusion of art and commerce amidst the emergence of mass consumer culture in Japan.
The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston showcases ukiyo-e woodblock prints by renowned artists Utagawa Kunisada (known for realism and portraits of Kabuki actors) and Utagawa Kuniyoshi (whose supernatural designs foreshadowed manga and anime). This exhibition features a selection of 100 works drawn entirely from the MFA’s preeminent Japanese collection, including large, multi-sheet images. Visitors are encouraged to decide for themselves who has prevailed in this artistic rivalry.