Context of Traditional Culture (Product ver.)
Washi appeals to the spirit of Japanese craftsmanship
With its unique texture and feel, beautiful luster and transparency, washi (Japanese traditional paper) is one of Japan’s most beautiful traditional crafts. Washi is made by hand by skilled craftsmen using traditional methods, making it of extremely high quality and durability. Besides, as a natural fiber and renewable plant-derived material, it contributes to waste reduction and sustainable product development, and is becoming an attractive option for consumers sensitive to sustainability and environmental concerns.
Washi is deeply rooted in Japanese traditional craftsmanship and reflects Japanese culture and aesthetics. Through washi, people around the world are exposed to Japanese traditions and history, and are fascinated by its value and beauty.
Last year, a shopping mall in Hong Kong hosted a pop-up of “WASHI,” a denim brand from Okayama made from washi paper. Washi, a natural material, is processed into a “unique yarn with a strong and soft texture” using a unique technique, and then made into denim fabric. Washi, a natural material, is “cool in summer, warm in winter, dries quickly, and has shape-memory properties,” which inspired the idea of making denim fabric. It seems that the traditional culture passed down from generation to generation continues to fascinate the world today.
In this newsletter, we will highlight some examples of how traditional cultures around the world are becoming the context for new cultural exchanges.
Yerba Mate tea fosters connections between people
Yerba Mate was originally a tea consumed by the indigenous Guarani people who lived in Paraguay, Bolivia, and Uruguay for traditional ceremonies and hospitality. Even today, drinking yerba mate is still an important part of the culture, mainly in Uruguay, Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay, and is said to have far greater popularity than coffee in those regions. Many of them cherish the time they spend chatting and drinking the same container of yerba mate with friends and family, passing it around. For them, sharing yerba mate in this way is a way to deepen their connection with each other.
Meaning of Skulls in Mexican Culture
Every year in Mexico, on the Day of the Dead, November 1 and 2, people decorate their altars with colorful sugar skulls inscribed with the names of the deceased as offerings. This tradition has its roots in the rituals of the indigenous Aztec tribe, who at that time remembered their dead by decorating their altars with real skulls. However, it is said that the Spanish invaders eventually felt threatened by the idea of placing real bones on the altar and changed it to the sugar-paste skull as we know it today.
Fusion of traditional crafts and fashion
The Taipei Fashion Week held in Taiwan this March focused on the fusion of traditional crafts and fashion. By passing through the everyday filter of “clothing,” there will be more opportunities to look at traditional crafts. On the other hand, because anyone can easily wear them, it seems to me that it will become more important to look at them not only for their appearance, but also to learn about the culture and history behind them.
Saber Fazer, a platform that brings together information on traditional Portuguese crafts, was launched in 2019 as a government initiative. It is intended to be used by a wide range of users, from professionals to travelers, with the aim of collecting and disseminating knowledge, and to help traditional culture flourish.