Bruno Taut loved Takasaki, Shaolin mountain
Bruno Taut (1880-1938) is a well-known German-born architect. Known as the world authority for urban planning and apartments, it has received international acclaim for works exhibited at exhibitions and colorful housing estates.
After that, Taut, who was in danger of rising due to the rise of the Nazi regime, went to Japan with his wife Erika. I stayed in Japan for three and a half years from May 1933 to October 1935. During that time, I spent the longest time at Senshin-tei in the precincts of Sharinzan Darumaji Temple in Takasaki City, Gunma Prefecture. Two years and three months have been spent here with the invitation of Fuichiro Inoue.
Mr. Inoue paid 1000 yen for 3 months. After that, 100 yen was paid to Taut as a part-time worker who taught crafts by Gunma Prefecture.
The taut design was prototyped at a prefectural industrial test site, and was handcrafted by unnamed craftsmen in the towns and villages around Takasaki to create modern crafts. It was Mr. Norigen Mizuhara, who was also our adviser, who linked the design of the taut and the craftsman.
Crafts completed in collaboration with Taut, Suwon, and local craftsmen were lined up in “Mirates” in Ginza and Karuizawa run by Inoue, and were purchased by many people. The best-selling product was the “bamboo leather work”. Especially in Karuizawa, many bread baskets were sold, and it was said that a house without bread baskets was a moguri. The unique color harmony was characteristic of Taut.
Gunma Prefecture was a lumber supplier when Taut stayed. The production of paulownia dance was especially active in Takasaki, which was a designated woodworking city of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. While going to Numata, where there is a timber tender, Taut completely liked Numata. When I like it, Taut designs for it. There is Tochigi in the Fujiwara area at the back of Numata, and the Fujiwarabon made from it was famous. At first glance, I like Taut, so I made pen plates and so on. Taut loved “Fu” that is unique to Tochigi, which has a lot of iron.
After living in Takasaki, he left behind 1000 designs, and was later invited by the Turkish government to leave Japan. On October 8, 1936, many residents rushed to see Taut off. It is said that Taut greeted “Hachiman Village, Shaolin Mountain”.
At Senshintei, there is still a monument to the words “ICH LIEVE DIE JAPANISCHE KULTUR” (I love Japanese culture) left by Taut on Shaolin.
Bruno Taut’s trust in Togen Suwon
Bruno Taut (1880-1938), a world-renowned architect, spent two years and three months from 1934 (Showa 9) at Senshintei in the precincts of Sharinzan Darumaji in Takasaki City, Gunma Prefecture. Mr. Norigen Mizuhara, who also acted as an adviser to Acti Daimonya, played a role in facilitating the work of Taut. Mr. Mizuhara is a central figure in the craft movement promoted by Fuichiro Inoue of Inoue Kogyo. It was Mr. Inoue who met Bruno Taut.
Taut worked as Mr. Inoue in the daytime and his own work in the evening. When he came up with the idea, he asked Mr. Mizuhara by showing a design drawing “Is it possible to do something like this?” Mr. Mizuhara looks for the taut design, looks for a craftsman, and asks the craftsman, who he thinks he can do, to work. Mr. Mizuhara seems to have accompanied the craftsmen who do not understand English.
Mr. Mizuhara, who said “I was just scolded by my teacher” in my life. It seems that Taut sent a letter to Mr. Suwon from Turkey who left Takasaki to come to Mr. Suwon (to Turkey). It shows the high degree of trust that Taut has had with Mr. Suwon. During the two-year and three-month stay, the designs designed by Taut were created as sophisticated crafts by Mr. Mizuhara’s efforts by craftsmen.
Without Mr. Mizuhara’s existence, the design of the taut would not have become a form.
Encounter with Dr. Tokugen Suwon who decided the path of Acty Daimonya
-Beauty for everyday use, creation of new things-
Representative Director and President Yasushi Nakata
I knew the existence of Dr. Mizuhara when I was 32 years old. At that time, a friend of the Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Commerce and Culture, who I belonged to at the time, told me, “If Takasaki, you would know Professor Suwon.” I’m sorry but I didn’t know. Listening to him, he says he is a very great and immeasurable person. I went to see him because I was recommended to meet him.
The teacher was born in 1911. Participate in craft product activities that Fuichiro Inoue started in Takasaki. When Taut stayed in Takasaki and became involved in the guidance of craft product production, he worked closely as a collaborator and was the only disciple of Taut.
Our company at that time was mainly Daruma. After that, it is a lucky sign of the zodiac. I wanted to get some advice in making such a product. It’s very interesting to actually meet and talk. As my colleagues say, he has a lot of knowledge, so even if he talks about one paper, he really knows the history and ideals, and he has a deep conversation. It was fun to meet my teacher and I started to come to work.
Is it because I visit too often? The teacher told me about the advisory contract and I decided to request it immediately. My teacher taught me how to cultivate the “eyes to see things”. The teacher is an energetic activist. In order to see the real thing, I took them to places where there are museums and famous buildings all over Japan. When I was talking, I suddenly went to Obuse to see the ceiling paintings of Katsushika Hokusai’s handwriting.
He also talked in detail about the folk art movement that Soetsu Yanagi played a central role. The folk art movement is a movement to find beauty in everyday items that have been used in everyday life and to make use of them. “Beauty of everyday use” is still the basic spirit of Acti Daimonya.
When the customer asked, “Why does Daruma deliver to the customer without looking?”, Dr. Mizuhara said, “To look at Daruma means to open the eye. I have written an explanation that means “the soul of Daruma is what the customer puts in.” I think this was possible because Professor Mizuhara, who studied everything deeply and pursued the truth.
Another thing that Dr. Mizuhara said a lot was “make more and more new things.” It doesn’t mean that you can do anything. It means to identify the “genuine” and create new things from the point where the “genuine” is reached. What are your wishes? It’s not just a seeming thing, it’s about exploring the inner part of the heart, that is, the essence, thinking about the land pattern and background, and creating something that fits the customer’s heart.
Until the first year of Heisei, 95% of the work was Daruma. That’s what the teacher taught me to try new things. With the focus on handmade hand-painted papier mache, planters and mannequins made from recycled paper, the ratio of Daruma is in the single digits. Based on the real thing, papier-mache, which is rich in originality, has spread throughout the country with the support of many people, and demand for ecological planters and mannequins is expanding.
One of the big jobs I have to do in the future is to train creators. As lifestyles change, so do the things customers demand.
We value the “genuineness” and “essence” that Dr. Mizuhara has valued, and have created an environment where each creator can create a product that expresses his or her own individuality, and helps the people around the world to enjoy their daily lives. I hope I can.