S?ETSU YANAGI was born in Tokyo in 1889 and graduated from
the literature department of the Tokyo Imperial University in 1913,
majoring in psychology. Proficient in English and with a deep
feeling for art, while still a student Mr. Yanagi became associated
with the Shirakaba ("Silver Birch") literary group, to which he was
partly responsible for interpreting Western art to Japan.
In 1921, he completed the organization of a Korean folkcraft museum in Seoul, and, in 1936, the present Japan Folkcraft Museum in Tokyo was completed through his efforts.
Mr. Yanagi traveled widely in the Orient, Europe, and America. In 1929 he lectured at Harvard University for one year. In Japan, sometimes in the company of the potters Kanjir? Kawai, Sh?ji Hamada, and Bernard Leach, he sought out anonymous craftsman of all kinds throughout the country and encouraged their work. He also wrote prolifically and profoundly on all aspects of aesthetics, finding his inspiration in Japanese and Oriental folkcraft and folk culture. His personal collection of folkcrafts is the nucleus of the Japan Folkcraft Museum collection. Mr. Yanagi died in Tokyo in 1961.
The Adaptor, BERNARD LEACH today is known as one of the world's greatest potters. His numerous books are familiar to everyone interested in modem crafts. Mr. Leach first came to Japan at the age of 22, in 1909, met the Shirakaba group and soon became an intimate friend of S?etsu Yanagi. It is difficult to say which of the two men influenced the other the more. In Mr. Yanagi's own words, "Leach came to Japan... full of dreams and wonder.... It is doubtful if any other visitor from the West ever shared our spiritual life so completely". This volume is Mr. Leach's tribute to his friend of fifty years standing.
"Yanagi pinpoints qualities of 'true' beauty with an authority that hardly allows us to differ. As does Solzhenitsyn, he feels that beauty is a real entity and not different from truth." --Craft Horizons
"This book is a quiet manifesto for the preservation and enhancement of crafts." --Washington Post