BringingNoreninto the Future with New Perspectives
Since times of old, Japan has used shop curtains called “noren” to partition rooms and advertise outdoors. Shin Nakamura, who plans, designs, and produces these curtains, had an exhibit at the Edo Tokyo Kirari Project event held in London and Paris in January. For this event, he wrote a book titled,Noren〜NOREN ENTRANCE TO JAPANOLOGY〜. He planned and edited this book by interviewing specialists in a variety of fields regarding the important factors that go into making noren. We asked the fourth-generation Nakamura to give his thoughts regarding his book and noren.
“I am reintroducingnorento the modern world through the skillednoren-making techniques of artisans, as well as giving a new value to these handworks. The Japanese people are familiar with whatnorenare, but I felt that this familiarity only goes surface deep. I thought that this was a shame, as Japan’s unique culture and philosophy are contained withinnoren. That was why I wanted to convey the interesting aspects ofnorenthrough this book.”
Nakamura mentioned how he hoped that by creating a discussion regardingnorenthrough “collective knowledge” and by incorporating the perspectives of a variety of people, not just his own, he would be able to bringnoreninto the future. He also said that he hopes his activities can spark similar things for other traditional arts and shops, not just fornoren.
“I think that old things can also be new, and that there isn’t much point in just making them seem new on the surface. I heard that even those who run traditional shops that have been standing for hundreds of years have no issues with trying new things as long as they don’t stray from the shop’s values. It’s important to know what you can change and what you shouldn’t change.”
While interacting with all the artisans with their various skills and experiences, Nakamura said that he is aware that he is the most enthusiastic in moving the project forward. “The artisans all have amazing skills and experiences, with passion for their work. I am happy that thanks to this, I can share in such a wonderful heated passion. I am made aware of the importance of teamwork, and I want to continue fulfilling my role as the ‘communicator’ going forward.”
Nakamura is softly spoken. However, behind his gentle tone, there is a burning passion. We are looking forward to seeing what the future ofnorenholds.