It’s that time of year again, when families get together to catch up on what’s been going on and plans for the future and the UNESCO Creative Cities Network is no different. Currently, representatives from the 69 members of the network – across seven art forms – are in Kanazawa in Japan sharing their news, welcoming new members to the family and planning how they can work together in the future.
Kanazawa, famous for a dazzling array of crafts including gold leaf, lacquer, porcelain and textiles, was named a UNESCO City of Crafts and Folk Art in 2009 and hosts the Creative Cities Network Conference in the same year that the Shinkansen (‘bullet train’) connects the city with Tokyo.
Like many places in Japan, Ishikawa Prefecture – the area around Kanazawa – has its own mascot. Hyakuman-san is based on a Kaga Hachiman Okiagari doll which always rights itself and is considered a good luck gift. It combines several of the traditional crafts of the area on its body including Kagayuzen (kimono pattern), gold craft paper and Wajimanuri (lacquer ware). Due to its size, unfortunately Hyakuman-san can’t get on the Shinkansen (too wide) but is working hard on welcoming visitors with ‘kawaii’ (cute) antics. Hyakuman-san is the one on the left in the main picture (above).
We caught a word between presentations and workshops with the Edinburgh correspondent at the conference, Ali Bowden (aka Director of the Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature Trust). Ms Bowden was quoted as saying, ‘Japan is awesome!’
You heard it here first.