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Behind the Shoji – Hokkaido Marketplace

Our popular show and sale event Behind the Shoji returns to Portland Japanese Garden on Saturday, August 3.

This year, in collaboration with the 60th anniversary of the sister-city relationship between Portland and Sapporo (the capital of Hokkaido), Behind the Shoji will highlight some of Hokkaido’s finest products.

Celebrating Creativity

Ainu weaving and embroidery by artist Maki Sekine

As the northernmost island of Japan, Hokkaido has long been considered a remote land of scenic beauty and rugged landscapes. The very remoteness of Hokkaido has allowed artists the freedom to create, innovate, and experiment.

Come marvel at the unparalleled wood and textiles from Hokkaido’s native Ainu peoples, only available for purchase at Portland Japanese Garden.

Admiring Ainu

Ainu embroidery artist Maki Sekine learned about Ainu culture and crafts from her grandparents while she was growing up, and her natural fascination led to her acquiring woodcarving skills, attus weaving, and Ainu pattern embroidery.

Hand-thrown pottery from Kushiro City, Hokkaido

Sekine often creates her original works right in front of her customers, adding new features while still using traditional patterns and techniques. She says, “Ainu culture is based on love for the family. It would make me happy if works imbued with that sentiment bring feelings of happiness and joy to many people.”

Another highlight will be intricate coasters, inspired by popular Japanese patterns, from the woodworking company Katoh Mokkou of the Kamikawa District of Hokkaido. Katoh Mokkou started making furniture out of solid wood more than 20 years ago. Three types of wood will be on display: Japanese oak, white birch, and American walnut.

Coasters from Katoh Mokkou Company in Hokkaido

Also available will be tiny clay pots, hand-thrown on a wheel, from Kushiro City in Hokkaido. The glaze is then made from charcoal of cherry blossom trees from artist Asanomi’s own fireplace. The studio where these pots are made uses clay exclusively from Shiga prefecture, where one of only six remaining kilns of ancient Japan is preserved till this day.

Other Hokkaido Highlights

For the first time, Behind the Shoji will feature regional foods, including jams and chocolate from Hokkaido’s Aichi Food, made with local wine. From the contemporary jewelry of Sapporo to decorative glassware of the Otaru area, this show will have something for all tastes.

Come marvel at the incredible creations designed by Hokkaido artisans. Behind the Shoji runs until Sunday, September 15.

Sponsored by Hokusei North America.

For event volunteer opportunities, please call 503-542-9354 or [email protected].


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