IN SEARCH OF THE SPIRIT by Shelia Hamanaka


The Living National Treasures of Japan
Age Range: 6 - 10
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PLB 0-688-14608-2 With sustained reverence, Hamanaka (Bebop-A-Do-Walk!, 1995, etc.) and Ohmi present portraits of six artists who are among Japan’s “Living National Treasures,” for perpetuating traditions that seemed to erode after WWII. The introduction states that “over one hundred men and women” hold the honored title; these profiles of six men—a yuzen dyer (or kimono artist), bamboo weaver, puppet master, sword maker, Noh actor, and potter—are fascinating. Readers will be amazed to learn that most of the artists had to break with the traditions of their families to preserve the traditions of their culture. Firsthand interviews, the history of these arts, and the details about the workmanship pepper the text while the elegant design complements the well-organized information, full-color photographs, and drawings of some of the processes involved. More than simply the stories of six men and their painstaking dedication, this book is a unique meditation on Japanese history and culture. (Nonfiction. 6-10)

Pub Date: March 1st, 1999
ISBN: 0-688-14607-4
Page count: 48pp
Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 1999