Definition: Japan is a jewel box of traditional craftsmanship. At the same time it is a treasure house of the most advanced technologies. And now traditional and modern technologies are being brought closer to emerge as one entity. Rigorous efforts to realize such attempts are very much being seen in modern Japan, making it one of the important characteristics of Japanese technology. Glimpses of true Japan can be seen more closely when you learn something about the artistry of skill and expression and, the way of living and philosophy of, the Japanese craftspeople.
In Japan a blacksmith would say ‘iron is a living thing,’ a potter would say ‘earth is a living thing,’ while a lacquer worker would say ‘lacquer is a living thing.’ In modern technological thinking, the self cuts itself apart from nature and assumes omnipotence. It then looks at nature as an objective body from which resources are to be taken for its own good. It may be said that modern technology is rooted in such tendencies.
Contrary to this, the technology of traditional craftsmanship does not accept the concept of “man vs. nature,” but takes on a more mutual and friendly relationship in which man and nature sympathize with each other or sometimes even co-mingle. Woodsmen who are experienced and fully equipped with traditional technology of wood cutting of forests are able to know the history of growth and health of each tree just by touching it. They can exactly judge which tree can or cannot be cut by merely looking at clusters of trees in a forest. Such judgment of those experienced woodsmen determines the future of the trees and whether or not the area would become spirited forests again.