Contemplating: Craft - Japanese Buddhism and Mingei

When and Where

Friday, September 23, 2022 1:15 pm to 5:00 pm
VC 102
Northrop Frye Centre
Old Victoria College Building, 91 Charles St W, Toronto ON M5S 1K5


Mihoko Okamura was assistant to Daisetsu Suzuki from 1953 to 1966, the years in which he became a principal conduit of Japanese Buddhist philosophy for Western audiences. Daisetsu Suzuki was not only a major influence on artists and thinkers (such as Carl Jung, John Cage, and Gary Synder), but also a key inspiration for members of the Mingei Movement, including Bernard Leach, Hamada Shoji, and Yanagi Soetsu.

Extracts from six hours of conversation between Marty Gross and Mohoko Okamura provide insight into the philosophical underpinnings of the craft movement. Mohoko Okamura articulates not only a personal perspective on Daisetsu Suzuki and on those he influenced but also a deep and evocative insight into a Zen perspective on craft and the human engagement with material. 

This event will intersperse screenings of the interview extract with an open-ended conversation with the participation of Marty Gross, the director of the Mingei Film Archive. Among the issues raised are the temporaility of craft production, the place of the individual creator in craft, and the signficance of anonymity in Japanese Buddhism.

This event will be of interest to archaeologists and others who study material culture, people engaged in the arts or in craft production, as well as those interested in the philosophy of Japanese Buddhism. 

→ Registration


Mingei Film Archive Project, The Archaeology Centre University of Toronto, Northrop Frye Centre, Expo '70 Fund Japan, Toshiba International Foundation


Old Victoria College Building, 91 Charles St W, Toronto ON M5S 1K5