Karakuri is the Japanese art of creating windup automatons. These dolls and puppets were a major pastime of the Edo era and the oldest date back to the 17th century. Through an intricate mix of levers and threads, these puppets were capable of doing amazing things- turning and shooting an arrow at a target on their own, doing magic tricks, opening and reading a book and so much more. This love for Karakuri perhaps explains the deep affection Japan has for robotics.
Literally meaning Alive Flowers – Ikebana is the art of creating floral compositions using flowers, leaves, shoots, etc. This art form looks to create a balance between these natural elements to develop in front of the viewer’s eye a tapestry of colour and artistry that is truly profound and moving. Deeply rooted in Buddhist traditions, as the art was developed by monks as early as the 7th century to decorate their altars, Ikebana believes in a spiritual language of flowers around which human creativity constructs visual splendors.
Rakugo which literally means falling words is a verbal art form that is an absolute one-man or one-woman show. In Rakugo, a storyteller sits down in front of an audience and narrates a comic tale with just two props- a fan and a small towel- to keep him or her company. Filled with puns, poetry, comic takes on everyday life, tales of morality and everything between Rakugo has been described as “a sitcom with one person playing all the parts”.Invented by Buddhist monks to make sermons interesting Rakugo is now an essential part of Japanese art.
Check out a great piece of Rakugo in English here: