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Containers in daily use, furniture, kimonos, cuisine... The Mark of Beauty is an unconventional art program that introduces the great variety of beauty to be found in the arts and crafts related to everyday Japanese life and suggests ways to appreciate them to the full.
|S255E01||Bonsai||20/02/2017||Bonsai is attracting a growing number of fans in Europe, North America, China, and elsewhere around the globe. This episode delves into the allure of bonsai that blend both old and new. It looks at some of the fascinating forms and textures in the trunks of the miniaturized trees, and the range of landscapes from different parts of the world that can be depicted in the confines of the containers. Wondrous landscapes can be created when natural stone is used as a container.|
|S255E02||Bamboo||03/04/2017||This episode features bamboo. The everyday items fashioned from bamboo reflect the philosophy of the craftsmen who made them. They combine both function and beauty. This episode also looks at some unusual shapes and patterns in bamboo, designed by nature as it were, as well some works of art that draw on the singular characteristics of this material.|
|S255E03||Lacquerware||10/04/2017||The beauty of world-renowned lacquerware lies in its incredible dark sheen, which takes almost a year to produce. This episode features the dream-like splendors achieved through the skill of lacquerware craftsmen. We look at the techniques for producing the mirror-like sheen, and the techniques for creating pictures and patterns with gold dust and gold filigree, which can measure less than 0.1mm across.|
|S255E04||Japanese Knives||01/05/2017||This episode focuses on Japanese knives, renowned for their sharpness, which brings out the beauty and flavor of ingredients, and which makes them indispensable to the preparation of Japanese cuisine. We look at the skills behind these knives which hark back to Japanese swords, and we watch a talented craftsman sharpen and perfect the blades. We also watch a skilled chef with more than 30 different knives put some of them to use. The sharpness of his blades can keep sliced ingredients moist and fresh for days. The ultrathin-bladed knife can thinly cut a giant radish into one long thin strip. And there is a long-bladed version for preparing sashimi that resembles a work of art. We also look at the cutting boards suited to such knives, and hope you'll enjoy the soothing rhythm the blades produce against them.|
|S255E05||Japanese Schoolhouse||30/05/2017||Schools create memories and look at how some of them do just that with leafy campuses, classrooms bathed in light, and the corridors with dark wood paneling. We look at the common features or "rules", as it were, for the layout of classrooms across Japan, and what famous architects, such as Frank Lloyd Wright and William Merrell Vories, had to say about school architecture. We visit some beautiful but solid school buildings designed after the 1923 Great Kanto Earthquake, as well as a new primary school built after the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake.|
|S255E06||Hanger||12/06/2017||This episode features clothes hangers. Don't miss the skills involved in fashioning premium-quality wooden hangers with flowing curves. The craftsmen make a point of studying the curves and contours of the body using their planer technique. We look at custom-made hangers designed to fit in with the surroundings of a 300-year-old traditional inn in Kyoto, as well as hangers traditionally crafted by bending and folding a single strand of bamboo. Handcrafted hangers have stories to tell. Oddly shaped versions made more than a century ago tells us what people's lives were like back then.|
|S255E07||Tobe Ware||19/06/2017||This episode focuses on Tobe ware (from Shikoku), which reputedly has round thickness. It is tough enough even to withstand domestic squabbles where husband and wife might hurl things at one another! It is popular at childcare centers too. The bowls are favored for the local udon noodles owing to their excellent heat-retaining properties. The arabesque patterns normally associated with Tobe ware are popular among chefs as they can happily accommodate a range of different foods. We look at the story behind how the patterns came to be. And don't miss the new shapes being fashioned by some artists. We look at a gigantic globe-shaped version and another with an extraordinary patchwork-like design.|
|S255E08||Kyo-Yuzen||03/07/2017||This episode focuses on and delves into the allure of the Yuzen dyeing associated with Kyoto, which produces intricate designs in a wide range of colors. We look at the astonishing skill involved in hand-painted Yuzen that can achieve a picture-like quality, and delve into the secrets behind producing the colorful yet gently restrained effect. Luxury versions involving 1,000 different dye patterns are featured, as well as patterns finished entirely in silver and gold that produce their own unique sheen. We also follow an apprentice geisha entertainer in Kyoto's Gion district, and look at the special Kyoto Yuzen-dyed garments she gets to wear after a year of training.|
|S255E09||Rakugo Storytelling of Tokyo||07/08/2017||This episode features the rakugo comic storytelling that developed in the present-day Tokyo area during the Edo period (1603-1867). We look at haori coat and the dozens of other costumes used by the storyteller, and the gestures the storyteller uses to depict a whole range of characters and scenes, including courtesans and wealthy visitors to the pleasure quarters, as well as youngsters. We also focus on the musical instruments, including the shamisen and the drum, which are used to provide accompaniment as well as attract audiences to a performance and bid them on their way afterwards.|
|S255E10||Breakfast at the Inn||14/08/2017||Breakfast at traditional-style inns is a great way of sampling the local cuisine. This episode features the breakfasts served at various establishments, including one in Niigata Prefecture (a major rice-producing area), which serves rice cooked on a traditional-style stove, rice porridge that is slowly cooked with hot spring water, and a range of appetizing side-dishes. The guest rooms at an inn in the Shuzen-ji area of the Izu Peninsula have braziers that enable miso soup to be served piping hot. And we look at the savory rolled omelets that have been served for half a century at an inn in Kyoto, as well as the breakfast favored by the author and renowned gourmet Shotaro Ikenami (1923-1990). Also we look at the breakfast at one establishment in Okinawa Prefecture that based on the principles of Chinese herbal medicine, which features 24 separate dishes.|
|S255E12||Shippo Cloisonné Ware||00/00/0000|
|S255E13||Kyoto Tofu||29/12/2014||Kyoto has a rich tofu culture. The people of Kyoto all have their preferred types. Tofu comes in diverse colors, shapes and flavors. This time, we savor the beauties of the tofu cuisine which blossomed in Kyoto.|