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The Unsung Experts of Japan

ワザあり!にっぽん [CTV]

Living Links to the Past The visitor to Japan is charmed by traditional objects that bring back images of an age gone by. Who keeps alive the craftsmanship necessary to bring these exquisite objects into being? This delightful series provides the answer.

SERIES Hanabishi – The Fireworks Masters –


ワザあり!にっぽん | 名門花火師三代目の腕 青木多門・昭夫親子 [CTV]

|Length : 27min. |Year : 1993

Every summer for hundreds of years, Japanese skies have lit up to the delight of old and young alike. Such marvelous pyrotechnics are the product of special expertise demanding skill, dedication and considerable creativity: it is not easy to become a fireworks master. In this fascinating study of a unique craft we watch the father and son team of Tamon and Akio Aoki prepare meticulously for a major - and impressive - display at Ise Shrine.

SERIES The Cormorant Catcher – Supporting the Ancient Sport of Cormorant Fishing –


ワザあり!にっぽん | 野生の鵜を捕る男 鵜捕獲人・沼田弘幸 [CTV]

|Length : 27min. |Year : 1993

Although the Japanese have practiced ukai, or cormorant fishing for over a thousand years, cormorants are now a protected species and for some time, until his son Takeshi received license, the only man in Japan with a license to catch these creatures for training was Hiroyuki Numata. As much about humanity as it is about nature, this documentary offers a rare look at how the traditional secrets of an ancient craft are passed on from one generation to another.

SERIES Urushi – The Traditional Art of Japanese Lacquer –


ワザあり!にっぽん | 日本の贅沢!漆の里に甦る浄法寺塗り 岩舘正二・隆親子 [CTV]

|Length : 27min. |Year : 1994

Japanese "urushi" lacquerware is justifiably famous worldwide for its exquisite finish. This program shows every step in the lacquerware process from the painstaking collection of drops of sap from lacquer trees in the hills, to the laborious processing of the sap into lacquer and the creation of the lacquerware itself. With many turning to cheap, imported lacquers, 70-year-old Shoji iwadate and his son Takashi may be among the last craftsmen to practice this traditional art.

SERIES Wara – The Technique of Wrapping with Straw –


ワザあり!にっぽん | 陶磁の浪漫をワラで包む 有田焼荷師・橋本勝 [CTV]

|Length : 27min. |Year : 1994

For centuries, straw or "wara" has been used to wrap priceless Arita pottery. Although straw is strong, pliable, readily available, cheap, and environmentally friendly, the technique is unfortunately a dying art. Among the few craftsmen who keep the old traditions alive, 70-year-old Masaru Hashimoto shows how straw can be used for just about anything from the most delicate porcelain to massive pots. This is a fascinating study of a fascinating tradition.

SERIES Mizuhiki – The Art of Decorative Cords –


ワザあり!にっぽん | 祝いを結ぶ 水引細工・津田剛八郎 千枝 [CTV]

|Length : 27min. |Year : 1994

Traditionally, money or gifts are presented wrapped in special hand-made paper bound with decorative strings tied in a stylized knot. These strings are made from coated paper called "mizuhiki", with different colors for different occasions. Nowadays, most "mizuhiki" are made by machines, but there are still a few craftsmen, like Ume Tsuda and her daughter Chie and son-in-law Gohachiro who work together to make creatively designed "mizuhiki" with traditional techniques.

SERIES The Man in Black – The Hidden Face in Kabuki –


ワザあり!にっぽん | 宙乗り!早替り!猿之助歌舞伎『八犬伝』 黒子・市川寿猿の世界 [CTV]

|Length : 27min. |Year : 1994

For many, "kabuki" is the soul of Japanese tradition. But there is a lot that goes on behind the colorful spectacle that most people do not know about. This rare glimpse of "kabuki" backstage follows Juen Ichikawa, a "kabuki" actor and "kuroko" or stagehand as he plans, organizes, and manages the theatrical details of a performance by "kabuki" superstar Ennosuke Ichikawa. A very modern Japanese man who even does the housework at home, Juen is a miracle-worker in black in the theater.

SERIES The Sumo Tokoyama – The Art of Hairdressing for Wrestlers –


ワザあり!にっぽん | 大相撲の美・髷を結う 床山・大銀杏に賭けた30年 [CTV]

|Length : 27min. |Year : 1994

Japan's national sport, sumo, has attracted much international interest. Part of its appeal are its esoteric customs including the wrestlers' traditional topknots, of which there are several styles dating back centuries. The men who do the sumo wrestler's hair are called "tokoyama". This program features Mitsuo Sato who works at one of the sport's most prestigious stables; it is a stimulating look at a traditional art that requires much skill and experience.

SERIES Japan Blue – The Art of Indigo Dyeing –


ワザあり!にっぽん | 藍玉を育てる 体にやさしい天然藍染め [CTV]

|Length : 27min. |Year : 1995

"Japan blue" is a rich indigo blue dye that has been produced by dedicated craftsmen for centuries. Yoshino Chiba is one of those traditional artisans, who, at 85, has devoted more than 60 years to the craft. This fascinating documentary shows the whole process from production of the "indigo balls" to the final dyeing. We also meet other dedicated craftsmen such as Yoshino's daughter-in-law Matsue and pattern engraver Chuji Miura who help keep this ancient art alive.

SERIES The Old Man and the Bees – Natural Honey from the Japan Alps –


ワザあり!にっぽん | 南アルプス天然はちみつ 秘伝の古代養蜂 [CTV]

|Length : 27min. |Year : 1995

Japanese beekeeping goes back over a millennium, but there are fewer and fewer farmers who are willing to use the technique since western honeybees are regarded as more productive and easier to tend. 84-year-old Yoichiro Uchikura, however, is an exception. Gentle and self-effacing, Yoichiro has been producing honey in his remote village high in the Japan Alps for more than 60 years - a good man who truly lives in harmony with Nature. This is a story with a message.

SERIES The Master Potter – Crafting Traditional Mortars –


ワザあり!にっぽん | 再発見!台所のロングセラー 筑前・小石原焼すり鉢 [CTV]

|Length : 27min. |Year : 1996

Master potter Takahiro Ohta of Koishiwara, a small town with a rich pottery tradition, demonstrates the arduous process of making a large mortar. Though losing ground to electric mixers, these mortars are still valued for their utilitarian charm, and Ohta's son plans to carry on the trade.

SERIES Doncho – The Theatrical Curtain Weavers –


ワザあり!にっぽん | 紅白梅 大緞帳に咲く!京都3代手織り技 [CTV]

|Length : 27min. |Year : 1996

The Japanese dramatic art of "Kabuki" is steeped in tradition, extending even to the curtains used: elaborate "doncho" curtains are woven by hand with seasonal motifs and weigh up to a ton. Meet the many craftsmen involved in their construction and discover the work that goes in before the curtain goes up.

SERIES The Drum Taiko – The Brothers Who Create Drums –


ワザあり!にっぽん | ド迫力!五尺太鼓皮張り 加賀400年の響き・兄弟太鼓師 [CTV]

|Length : 27min. |Year : 1996

The "taiko" is more than merely a musical instrument--this large drum has its origins in religious ceremonies and holds the power to inspire awe in the listener. Witness the painstaking process of crafting a "taiko" drum as demonstrated by the Asano brothers of Ishikawa Prefecture, heirs to a 400-year-old family tradition of drummaking.

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