【Edo Tokyo Rethink】Miyamoto Unosuke Shoten x Noritaka Tatehana
Miyamoto Unosuke Shoten, which was founded in the mid-1800s, towards the end of the Edo era, creates Japanese drums and festival palanquins.
It focuses on Japan’s distinctive festivals, which are, in a sense, one of the country’s traditional performing arts. Miyamoto Unosuke Shoten carries on this traditional culture, preserving it for future generations.
This collaborative work includes a piece consisting of small connected drums, roughly 14 cm in diameter, calledgangu daiko, or toy drums. Their circular arrangement is evocative of the drums used by the god of thunder.
Drums created by the craftsmen of Miyamoto Unosuke Shoten were linked in a circle by a woodworker using pieces of chestnut wood, the same material from which the drums were made. The piece was then painted in the studio of contemporary artist Noritaka Tatehana.
Some drums are made with wood from trees over a century old. After the trees are felled and cut, the wood is then dried for anywhere from three to five years before being painstakingly finished by a craftsman using a plane.
The drums used in this piece date back to the mid-1970s, and were pieces which were unsuitable for use as actual drums due to the wood warping or splitting during the drying process, before a leather drum head could be attached.
The rough and rugged feel of a work in progress lives on in the drums, especially thenagado, or long-bodied, taiko drum.
*All necessary safety precautions were taken during the interview as part of COVID-19 prevention.
Online Exhibition Outline
Exhibition Title: Edo Tokyo Rethink -The Future of Traditional Industry Seen Through Art at the Kyu-Iwasaki-tei Gardens-
Organizer: Tokyo Metropolitan Government, Edo-Tokyo Kirari Project
Co-organizer: Tokyo Metropolitan Park Association