The artistic and philosophical concepts of the Mingei Movement, founded in 1926, have had a profound impact on arts and crafts worldwide through the works and writings of its three central figures: Soetsu Yanagi, Bernard Leach and Shoji Hamada.
Bernard Leach (1887-1979), Shoji Hamada (1894-1978) and Soetsu Yanagi (1889-1961) were key figures in the introduction of Japanese aesthetic culture to the world of modern craftsmanship and of the modern arts of the West to Japan. They were among the most significant voices in the world of craftsmanship in the 20th century.
The ideas behind the Mingei Movement were part of a wider intellectual exchange in the early part of the 20th century. Just as Eastern philosophy and aesthetics were being introduced to the West, European ideas of arts and design, as articulated by the Arts and Crafts Movement of John Ruskin, William Morris and Eric Gill, among others, were entering Japan.
This project will include several new video interviews with artists, craftsmen and thinkers. Of particular significance is our interview with Mihoko Okamura, who is central to the history of the Mingei Movement, having known directly most of its key figures.
Marty Gross recounts how he discovered, and recovered, films nearly forgotten for half a century. As a result, important and nearly-lost films of Bernard Leach have been saved and now, thanks to the Japan Foundation, will be a part of the Mingei Project.
See the list of films to be restored and digitally remastered for the Mingei Film Archive. In addition to building a comprehensive compendium, the Mingei Film Archive Project also proposes to enhance these early films for craftspeople, collectors, students and historians along with the general public.
Marty Gross is a consulting producer for companies based in North America, Europe and Asia, with focus on Japanese art, film, theatre and crafts. Marty Gross Film Productions, Inc. manages one of the most comprehensive websites devoted to films on Japanese cultural and historical subjects.