The spirit of Japanese Design and Craft – The Foreigners magazine In tokyo
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The spirit of Japanese Design and Craft

Written by on August 29, 2021

Understated at first glance, this medal case fulfils three roles: “to contain,” “to carry,” and “to display,” while encapsulating the Japanese aesthetic within its details.

Carved into a circular form to represent the Japanese flag and incorporating the traditional colour of indigo, each piece is meticulously created by Japanese craftsmen. Special care was placed to ensure that it complemented the medal when being displayed and had a pleasing tactile quality, opening and closing mechanism, and even sound.

The medal case is constructed out of ash wood from Hokkaido. This material has long been used for making tennis rackets, skis, bats, railings, and furniture, and is thoroughly embedded in our lives and the world of sports. Its hardy nature and strikingly beautiful wood grain personifies the strength and beauty of the athletes.

In the Abashiri District of Hokkaido, is the town of Tsubetsu, home to a population of 4,400 and Yamagami Mokko, a woodworking factory that has been in operation since 1950. Yamagami Yuichiro, who will eventually become its third-generation president, and designer Yoshida Shinya – both age 35 – collaborated closely, albeit from afar, in the pursuit and realisation of world-class Japanese design and craft.

Furthermore, this medal case design will be utilised by both the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The emblem on the surface is beautiful to behold and for visually-impaired athletes to feel as well. Various processing techniques were tested to achieve this desired effect.

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