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Herald Tribune asahi
Japanese People Do Not Know Japan
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Urushiori

The picture accompanying this article is "Urushiori," a lacquered bookmark that I designed and produce. The purpose of creating it is to preserve Japan's unique techniques of lacquer in the face of the ebbing of Japanese traditional crafts, to enable young craft workers to have a secure life and to improve their techniques - in order to do so, they need more jobs - and to introduce the beauty of Japan to as many people as possible. Urushiori are hand-made in Japan. Craft workers coat lacquer on a 0.6 mm-thick hinoki plate by hand to make it 0.8 mm thick. Then, craft workers from various places in Japan draw patterns on the plate using lacquer, maki-e, and other traditional methods. The number of the designs is as many as 60 kinds.
(http://www.fuji-torii.com/urushiori/)
 
This Urushiori is made of wood, lacquer, gold powder and parts of shells. This beautiful bookmark is created with only these simple materials. This beauty is the embodiment of the awareness, experience and techniques of concerned persons who first made prototypes for strength-testing and then, making cost calculations along the way, painstakingly combined the elements to create a small but beautiful product. In other words, it is a crystallization of their energy. Even if we were to use the latest computer and other technologies, I do not believe that we could make such a beautifully finished product.
 
Definition of Energy

I use the word energy not to indicate only physical energy such as working time or creation itself. When we act or work, results of our activities become very different depending on our awareness as we act. In daily work starting with coming to the office and dealing with important tasks of the day, whether we work routinely only "according to the manual" or whether we work with a sense of purpose, the performance of the work will differ greatly. In the latter situation, there is an energy stemming from a self-motivated sense when we work, and this energy also means a spirit to make others happy. It - the energy - can not come from forced labor or mere duty.
 
According to the latest physics theory, human beings' awareness has a mass. In the same way, thought and mind of each human being comprise waves, each with its own length, and waves are energy having information and awareness. This energy has a unique vibration frequency. People act in accordance with this energy and construct this world we are living in.
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Proving the existence of this energy is very easy; it is understood through communication behavior. For example, in the morning, when you smile and cheerfully say "Good morning!" to your family or colleagues, they also return a smile. Depending on the energy coming from your awareness, the amount and type of energy you receive is variable.

What we cannot see

For us to see something, light is necessary. We recognize the shape and color of something in three dimensions, through how it absorbs or reflects the light. In addition, in this world, there are various rays such as ultraviolet, X-rays, gamma rays and cosmic rays as well as visual rays and infrared. Depending on vibration frequencies, some rays are visible and others are not. Regarding physical matter, atoms, molecules, neutrons and quarks each has their own peculiar structure and each their own vibration frequency and quanta of energy. They cannot normally be seen.
 
My understanding is that that awareness of human beings is also invisible but is a form of energy with an extremely high vibration frequency, which is similar to ether or energetic particles but cannot be measured by the current scientific techniques. Naturally, I believe thoughts and wishes of human beings are vibration frequencies with a certain wave length and energy. In Japan, there is a word "ishin-denshin," which means that we can understand the mind and thoughts of other people without anything being said. In a sense, it may describe the considerateness of Japanese people - that they are able to put themselves in another person's position.
 
Energy of Beauty

We create something by changing natural materials in the world through our awareness and techniques. To make Urushiori, craftsmen, using their experience and techniques, cut trees down, saw up and slice wood and form it into shapes, and repeatedly coat it with lacquer, which is made from the sap of urushi trees. Of course, this process includes energy in the form of physical power and time, but the finish is dependent on energy of creators because vibration frequencies that the creators have acquired through their training and study over time influences their works. This makes a picture that painters paint different from one that I paint, art works different from consumption goods, art works different from disposables, and articles for presentation different from mass-produced goods.
 
Works of art include all essences creators possess, such as awareness and techniques that they have honed through training and study and their life experience, and also their mindset, in the shape of waves, and each work emits its own waves. In this way, each work has a unique vibration frequency. In other words, the difference comes from creators' energy in how they have combined simple materials. When we see art works, we tend first of all to be interested in color, shape or design, but, in fact, we directly feel and appreciate the energy of beauty of the works.
 
Please send your comment or opinion to hadv@asahi.com
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