2022 'Made in Japan in Monaco' established even stronger relationships with Monaco in a 'green' set.
Updated: Feb 20
Now in its third edition, a unique event plunged the Principality of Monaco into the millennial tradition of Japan for three days. 'Made in Japan in Monaco' held at the Grimaldi Forum in Diaghilev Hall to showcase the multi-faceted best side of the Japanese Archipelago. The showroom reinforced the strong link between the two Countries as witnessed by Monaco's Japanese Gardens, conceived by the award-winning architect Yasuo Beppu in 1994 by the will of Prince Rainier III, strictly following Zen ratio. This Far Eastern meeting promoted by Sakura Monaco Emu Shop with the high patronage of the Embassy of Japan in Monaco, JETRO Paris, Japan External Trade Organisation, JNTO - Official National du Tourisme Japonais, the Association Monaco Friends of Japan and CLAIR, offered a series of interesting cultural moments including dance stages, parades and dressing technique by KIMONO BEAUT YU JAPAN, the Japanese Rakugo humour performance by Cyril Coppini and a truly Zen tea preparation by Manabu Shiraishi, Wagashi chef master with sixteen years of experience. This traditional Japanese dessert, often served within the tea ceremony, is deeply rooted to Nature both for the ingredients that follows the seasonality and for the design fully inspired by shapes of plants and flowers recreated in a refined and delicate way.
Japan was a pioneer of the concept of 'Sustainability' in its environmental, social and economic nuances, dating from the so-called Edo period, which lasted from 1603 to 1867. Due to lack of resources at that time, Japanese communities have learnt to take care of any detail promoting a waste-free approach in the footstep of the 'Mottainai' (=do not waste what is valuable) philosophy. After the Second World War, the country quickly became a leading industrial and high-tech power moving away from those original principles. However, most recently Japanese Government is rediscovering those values by introducing modern legislation to pursue sustainability goals. This is bearing good fruits and Japan is currently ranked at the 11th position in the list of the most sustainable countries.
Not by chance, it was the setting of the 1997 Kyoto protocol, an international treaty addressed to developed nations aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Sustainable tourism and transport modes are cornerstone to the modern 'green revolution' through the efficient promotion of local cultural initiatives and the encouragement of hikes, walking tours, cycling, recycling and plastic reduction. Bio-architecture is also in the top list of priorities basing on a long tradition. From the Zen gardens to building and interior design the examples that make nature decorative element and source of meditation are several.
The Japanese Bonsai Tree philosophy embodies a tribute to the natural world. The 'planting in a container' technique was developed over a century ago to give value the beauty of trees on a small scale in order to encourage the contemplation of Mother Earth preserving its kaleidoscopic essence despite the intervention of human beings. Michel Franco, founder of the Bonsai Center in Nice and passionate expert of this art, highlights: "The lifespan of bonsai is infinite, as the oriental wisdom. If painting opens your eyes to light, bonsai opens your eyes to nature!". An amazing display of Akaishi-Goyomatsu bonsais, the highest-quality and most valuable in Japan, were offered to all visitors.
>> KirieBijou - Atelier Tantan introducing to her finest jewellery in a smart golden dress (Made in Japan in Monaco, 2022 edition, Grimaldi Forum) © Maurice Abbati MOEA
But Japan expresses also through other handicraft production like fine bone china masterfully presented by the series designed by Koh SATO, a skilled master who creates refined pieces of work of glazed porcelain inspired by nature being awarded several times the prestigious Prix Nitten. Installed in France in 2016, the artist points out: "Through porcelain, I navigate between the modern and the traditional, I work the purity of lines, the moving material, the sumptuous crystallizations...I transmit my sensitivity and my emotions". The same exquisite harmony of shapes derived from the fine texture of paper-cutting is the film rouge of KirieBijou - Atelier Tantan where the harmonious forms of nature like trees, butterflies or fishes are transformed into precious jewels made of noble materials, notably gold, silver or platinum foils as the artist from Tokyo explained to us: "My jewellery allows you to wear a piece of the oriental modern world that flutters in the wind, a bold design for a long time with an airy feel and a special lightness".
Photos >> Zen tea preparation by Manabu Shiraishi, Wagashi (on the right) chef master (Made in Japan in Monaco, 2022 edition, Grimaldi Forum) © Maurice Abbati MOEA
Japanese fondness for sustainability arises also through traditional cuisine that is still strongly linked to the territory and native ingredients like Japanese rice, made of smaller but pleasantly scented grains, and the Wakame, the leaf part of a seaweed which is widely used in cooking for miso soups, marinated dishes and salads. A source of fiber low in calories but rich in minerals and vitamins.
MONACŒCOART® attended the event to grasp some inspiring testimonies of what merges innovation to the traditional Japanese background towards an established sense of sustainability.
Paplus® represents an excellent example of innovation to foster bioplastic use. This paper plastic, in fact, made of 99% of vegetal elements, ensures high performance for personalised tableware manufacturing and house decoration. Koichiro Fukasawa, founder and CEO of Camino, underlined: « We started from a specific cereal called dent corn, which is not intended for consumption, and then a combination of other plants ingredients to achieve a fully biodegradable resin material obtained through a bio-chemical process. Since it is plant based the row material is quite sticky but we succeded in making a pleasant smooth consistency thanks to a new technology that can be apllied to large production. Moreover, we are testing new possible solutions to replace corn. What we do is selecting the most sustainable bio polymers worldwide and blend them to our paper. We started joining Biomass and Biodegradable Plastic Japanese certifications and we are seeking to be certified internationally. We are also committed to raise awareness through our products among consumers and students at cafes, restaurants, leisure centres and schools. Last but not least we are encouraging users though monetary incentives to give us back our products at the end of life to recycle them by making pellets that we blend with the virgin ones ».
The embroidered Kimono is a traditional Japanese woman's dress of particular elegance and refinement. Their traditional patterns, developed through the centuries, are tightly linked to natural observation and the succession of the seasons. Flowers, trees like a garden with pines, Japanese apricots, cherry blossoms and other flora as well as waterfalls (Goshodoki), moon (Tsuki), stars (Hoshi), lightning (Inazuma) are very popular. This well-established handicraft has developed to give life to pure creativity and aesthetics to create exquisite interior design. 'Transcending the tangible, touching the infinite' is the catch phrase of Kyoraku Kougei Co. Ltd. a family run company from Kyoto district that handed down the kimono culture from generation to generation, making it an accessory of furniture or decoration. Shigehiro Nakamura, President of the company, pointed out: « We keep taking new challenges to preserve the unique craft techniques of Japan for future generations by conceiving high-end furniture, architectural interior elements, souvenirs, etc. by using the hand-made Nishijin weaving technology (note: silk interwoven with lavish gold and silver threads to create complex and skilful patterns). A particular multi-stage lacquering and painting process embellishes this precious fabric to create a striking three-dimensional effect which can be used in various home environments».
Made in Japan in Monaco offered once again the chance to discover the extraordinary culture of Japan, confirm the strong ties with Monaco from a perspective of tradition and innovation with a new sustainable glimpse. ***
To know more about 'Made in Japan in Monaco' please visit: https://monacoemu.com/en/made-in-japan-in-monaco-en/
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By Maurice Abbati
Springer International Publishing