MONO JAPAN lecture programme brings you stories of crafts and design from Japan and the Netherlands. Join us to hear makers, designers and curators talk about their practices and cross-cultural collaborations; learn about designers’ inspirations and find out how today's economic and social developments and contemporary innovations affect the artisanal practices; see what the future have in store for crafts & design.

Free admission and no pre-booking required to all lectures with a valid entrance ticket to MONO JAPAN 2019.


gift by gifted - Yamanashi’s mountainous manufacturing region

Kaori Ieyasu

Concept and Design Director of gift by gifted inc.

Date & Time: Coming Soon
Location: Coming Soon

For years, Yamanashi Prefecture has been making beautiful jewellery and textiles, but ten years ago, both industries were under threat of extinction. Ieyasu will explain in this lecture from her own experience of how to get young people involved in such dying manufacturing regions and traditions to rejuvenate them.
As traditional production hubs dwindle and many people are thinking about creating small-scale creative ‘making’ hubs around the world, this is a good opportunity to hear about what’s happening in Japan.


  • Kaori Ieyasu
    Kaori Ieyasugraduated from the Design Academy Eindhoven in 2007. She worked at Studioilse in London, run by world-renowned interior designer Ilse Crawford, and at Trend Union Paris, before opening Edelkoort East in Tokyo in 2008 to broaden the field of trend forecasting.
    Since 2009, she has been helping craftsmen to develop their design and communication strategy in the textile and jewellery making region of Yamanashi, Japan. With Takeshi Oshima, she started gift by gifted inc to use the new production system to bring beautiful ideas and talents into the world.

MUJUN’s challenge to find craftsmen’s successors

Shinya Kobayashi

Director at MUJUN and Coelacanth Shokudo

Date & Time: (sat) February 2, 2019 from 18:15
Location: Coming Soon

MUJUN’s brand, ‘Banshu Hamono’, primarily works in the cities of Ono and Miki in Hyogo Prefecture, known in Japan as two of the foremost production areas for knives and blades. The brand uses top-quality products made by several individual craftsmen that MUJUN has gathered together.
As a young designer, Kobayashi wanted to break down walls that have traditionally blocked craftspeople from communicating with one another. By bringing these former competitors together, MUJUN aims to show consumers the real character of this producing area.
Kobayashi is trying to ‘cultivate craftsmen’, first by learning about their personal journeys, their joys and their sorrows, as well as the the history and characteristics of craft in the region. He talks regularly with craftsmen-in-training while as they try to find their way. Modern craftsmanship is full of challenges and contradictions, and it seems craftsmanship itself needs a new definition.
In this lecture, he would like to share this story with the audience, and think together about the challenges and opportunities for those who choose craftsmanship as a profession.


  • Shinya Kobayashi
    Shinya Kobayashigraduated Osaka University of the Arts and founded Coelacanth Shokudo in his hometown of Ono, in Hyogo Prefecture. He began working with local makers of products such as Banshu blades and abacuses (‘Banshu’ is an old name for Hyogo prefecture, and is now used for the area’s distinctive products), and stone roof tiles, to develop new products for their businesses. He focuses on sharing his region’s rich assets with an international audience, beginning with the branding and then developing a market for the goods overseas.

The Development of Taste in Modern Japan

Jurriaan van der Meer

Ph.D. candidate in Japanese literature at Leiden University, the Netherlands

Date & Time: Coming Soon
Location: Coming Soon

The concept of taste is complex. It is both a way to distinguish yourself from others, and a mode through which communities are formed. This lecture will examine how notions of taste shaped social relations and a sense of national identity during the Meiji period (1868-1912), a time in which Japan was confronted with outside ideas concerning literature and art. What is at stake when we talk about taste? What does it mean to have "good taste" and why does it matter? These are some of the questions that will be addressed during this lecture.

  • Jurriaan van der Meer
    Jurriaan van der Meer Ph.D. candidate in Japanese literature at Leiden University, the Netherlands. After completing his BA in Japan Studies at Leiden University, he received MA degrees in Japanese literature from Leiden University, Waseda University (Japan) and Columbia University (New York City, USA). His current research examines how notions of taste and aesthetic judgement were conceptualised in literary circles in Japan during the Meiji and Taisho periods.