Companion For Friendship Doll

Master Fujimura demonstrating his craft at the DIA in 2017. Masters Fujimura and Kawakami will demonstrate Japanese crafts at the DIA on 12 June 2018.Photo courtesy of the Detroit Institute of Arts.

Master Fujimura demonstrating his craft at the DIA in 2017. Masters Fujimura and Kawakami will demonstrate Japanese crafts at the DIA on 12 June 2018.
Photo courtesy of the Detroit Institute of Arts.

(DETROIT, MI) – On June 12, the Detroit Institute of Arts and the Japanese Business Society of Detroit will present a celebration of Japanese art focusing on how arts and culture have advanced, and continue to advance, relationships between the United States and Japan.

The day includes a symposium, artist demonstrations, and a display of a Japanese Friendship Doll, Miss Fukiko Akita, given to the Detroit Children’s Museum in 1927, along with a new male Friendship Doll crafted by Japanese doll maker Master Fujimura.

All events are free with museum admission, which is free for Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb county residents.

“Our strong relationship with the Japanese community continues with this very special day,” said Salvador Salort-Pons, DIA director. “Thousands of visitors enjoyed and learned about important Japanese cultural traditions during activities related to the opening of our new Japanese art gallery last year, and we are excited to present this thought-provoking symposium featuring Her Imperial Highness Princess Akiko.”

The symposium is from 10am to noon and features a panel discussion with Takashi Omitsu, executive advisor to IMRA America and the JBSD, Katherine Kasdorf, DIA curator of the Arts of Asia and the Islamic World, Alison Jean, DIA interpretive specialist, Natsu Oyobe, curator of Asian art at the University of Michigan Museum of Art, and William Colburn, executive director of Wayne State University’s historic Charles Lang Freer House.

Following the panel discussion, Her Imperial Highness Princess Akiko of Mikasa, a scholar of Japanese art who holds a doctorate from the University of Oxford, will give a talk on how arts and culture have historically fostered, and continue to foster, relationships between the US and Japan.

Princess Akiko is not on an official state visit. She is in the US conducting research on the role art can play in strengthening ties between countries.

“The Japanese community in metro Detroit is so honored to have Princess Akiko in the symposium at the DIA,” said Omitsu. “I am very excited to hear about her extensive research into how art can facilitate strong ties between the US and Japan.”

From 9:30am until 1:30pm, in the museum’s Great Hall, two Japanese master artists will demonstrate their crafts. Master Fujimura will demonstrate the art of doll-making, an important cultural tradition in Japan, and Master Kawakami will show how Japanese cloth, known as tenugui, is created.

The two Friendship Dolls will be on display, as well.

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Ian Shalapata
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