Google Inc. Showcases Japanese Craftwork

Category: Lifestyle/Entertainment


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. showcase / ˈʃoʊˌkeɪs / (v) – to present something attractively

    The company showcased their new products in the exhibit.

  2. in hopes of / ɪn ˈhoʊps əv / (idiom) – expecting that something could possibly happen

    We talked to him in hopes of changing his mind.

  3. carry on / ˈkær I ɒn, ɔn / (idiom) – to continue doing something that someone has already been doing

    I want to carry on the work that my father started twenty years ago.

  4. artisan / ˈɑr tə zən / (n) – someone who is good at creating things using his/her hands

    He has been working as an artisan for many years.

  5. successor / səkˈsɛs ər / (n) – a person who takes over something, like a position or project

    He wants his successor to be the best in his field.


Read the text below.

Google Inc. has created a website that showcases Japanese craftwork to the world.

In the summer of 2015, Google collaborated with Shinya Maezaki, associate professor of Kyoto Women’s University, to create “Made in Japan,”  a website that features traditional Japanese craftwork items. It is part of Google’s global-scale project called Google Arts and Culture, which is an online database of various art forms.

About 40 university students studying under Maezaki and several students from Ritsumeikan University were involved. The project members used a presentation style similar to that of fashion magazines in hopes of attracting visitors and increasing awareness of Japanese craftwork.

After seeing the website’s release in January 2016, craftsmen who needed publicity became interested in a possible collaboration.

When the website was completed, it had programs that featured 141 craftwork items from all of the prefectures in Japan. The pictures, texts, and videos were in Japanese and English. Visitors from Europe and the Middle East expressed their admiration for the tradition carried on by the Japanese craftsmen.

Japanese craftsmanship is currently faced with the problem of artisans retiring without any successors. Recognizing this, other organizations and individuals are also coming up with initiatives similar to Google’s.

One of them is Keigo Omaki, director of the Japan Handwork Encyclopedia—a video website that aims to raise awareness of Japanese craftsmanship and career opportunities. According to Omaki, young people do not realize that craftsmanship is a career that they can actually pursue.

Another group, the Fukuoka Doll Making Union, holds events and meetings to encourage the younger generation to take interest in traditional craftsmanship.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• How else can technology be used to preserve traditional craftwork?
• What can individuals do to help preserve traditional craftwork?

Discussion B

• Would you consider becoming a craftsman? Why or why not?
• How can young people be encouraged to consider a career in craftsmanship?