Japan is full of master craftsmen, traditional stage artists and virtuoso musicians. But it’s only the elite – and those who have been plying their trade for decades – that is rewarded with the accolade of “living national treasure”. Japan’s Living National Treasures represent the qualities of tradition and resilience that, despite the recent tragedies, will help the country move forward. Gatekeepers of artistic and artisanal trades, they are individuals who have come to represent entire institutions through their passion and dedication. Monocle meets 11 of them.
- Taro Terasawa