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May 23, 2008

From Boing Boing comes this set of photos by Masaru Goto. The pictures are of Japanese Baraku, the remnants of the lowest caste: typically those that worked with dead animal flesh. I had to share this picture and the text that follow. The article itself is here. Link

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Keigen Ishida is a bamboo artisan.

“My father was a bamboo artisan who was contemptuously called ‘bamboo crafter’ by the public. I, too, was ashamed of him. Recalling it now, it is quite sorrowful. My father never let go of bamboo until 2 months before he ended his 84-year life. Shortly before he passed away, he encouraged me, saying, ‘You’ve been watching the things I’ve done. It’s never too late.’ I picked up my father’s unfinished Souki (weaved tub) and happened to think of completing it as his final work. I was more than 40 years old and this was the first time I had worked with bamboo in earnest.

In the workroom I’ve inherited from my late father, I keep making bamboo crafts as a sort of wordless conversation with him. And in the meantime, I have been taken with the charm of it. That is when I started to sense my father’s pride; my father’s pride is my pride.”

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