The Unknown Craftsman: A Japanese Insight into Beauty

By Sōetsu Yanagi

I skimmed a couple chapters of this for a reading group a while back, and got my dad a copy, but haven’t read much of it yet.

It’s a collection of essays exploring craft and beauty, covering topics like technique, abstraction, emptiness, imperfection, ordinary objects, folk art, philosophy and spirituality.

Yanagi Sōetsu is a “philosopher and founder of the mingei (folk craft) movement in Japan in the late 1920s and 1930s.” This book brings his writings into English, through, not exactly a translation, but an “adaptation” by Yanagi’s friend, the potter Bernard Leach.

It includes seventy-six plates, illustrating “objects that underscore the universality of his concepts.”

Additional information:

  • ISBN: 978-1568365206
  • Publisher: Kodansha International

Learn more or purchase:

* Independent online book marketplaces. While these sites are often lighter on data / reviews, and thus not the first place to go to learn about a book, they're a great place to actually purchase!