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2019 March 31 - Asahi News  朝日新聞​ 3月31日

Asahi Shimbun News March 31st 2019

Branding Shokunin* to the World

TAKETOMBO - a venture in Nanto City.

TAKETOMBO is a venture that connects Inami Wood Carvers to overseas Creators. Instead of general tourist, it is important to engage overseas (creative) talents who can spread valuable information, thus craft town products will get promoted.  In that regards, Inami experience program is being created, tailoring to overseas creators, and art/design-major students.

(Mikki Tam) was born in Hong Kong, and moved to the US with her family at age 14.  She graduated with a Master degree in Interior Architecture and has worked in New York architecture firms responsible in retail design.  Afterwards, she relocated to Shanghai where she worked for Nike Greater China specialized in brand design.  In 2015, she transferred to Nike Japan and lived in Tokyo.

“Branding is to tell resonating story for a product to the consumer”.

Because of her passion in Arts and Crafts, Mikki travels to many traditional crafts towns in Japan.  She is determined to connect Japan artisans to the world. 

 

In Winter 2017, Mikki visited Inami for the first time and acquainted with a local wood-carving artisan in a workshop.  She was intrigued by the boldness and attention to details of artisans.  However, demand for “ran-ma” (carved wood transom used in Japanese style houses) is decreasing and artisan community is aging, the future of rural region (Inami) becomes uncertain.

“In the West, many creators place importance in individuals’ creative ability. If these individuals collaborate with artisans whom devote generations in preserving craft heritage, it would be very inspirational.”

With that thought, in Feb 2018, “Taketombo” was established in effort to bridge Inami to overseas.

In Aug 2018, an American ceramist in her 70s traveled to Inami with the program.  Upon a studio visit, a woodcarving artisan mentioned “Talent is not the most important, dedicating your life into your work is.”  This touched the heart of the American ceramist, however experienced she herself is in the trade.

“This IS the story of Japan Artisans.   Inami already has the best brand.” said Mikki.

 

(article by Matsubara Hiroshi, Asahi Shimbun)

2019 July 15 - Kitanippon Shimbun (Northern Japan News) 北日本新聞 7月15日
 
Survival Challenge of Inami Art Museum :
American students to conduct Adaptive Reuse Design Research

“Rhode Island School of Design”, an art university from the United States, will conduct adaptive reuse research for Inami Art Museum in Nanto City in March of next year. This is a response to the invitation from Taketombo Corporation (Fujihashi, Inami, representative Mikki Tam), an enterprise that mediates projects between Inami wood sculptors and foreign Creatives. The students will visit the museum to evaluate its cultural and historical values, and create revitalization propositions that suits the Inami region.

The Inami Art Museum opened in 1987, at the former Chu-etsu Bank (Inami branch) building built in the mid 1920s. As the structure lacks seismic reinforcement, it has become difficult for Nanto City to maintain. A public bid to sell the building was announced in December last year. Mayor Mikio Tanaka agreed to postpone the sale of the building after local organization file a petition in opposition. Local organizations are in discussion to come up with a sustainable revitalization plan.

 

Taketombo Corporation was founded last year by American Interior Architect Mikki Tam, prioritizes in work that drives social impact. When Tam realized the Inami Art Museum building could facing potential demolition, she initiated an adaptive-reuse investigation. After discussing with city official, she connected with her Alma Mater and negotiated to have a Design Studio course to conduct design research for the building. In March next year, 12 students will arrive from the US and stay in Nanto City for about a week; to conduct site survey and 3D scanning of the building. Research data will be compiled to understand

the historic and cultural value of the building as well as the region. Design propositions will be made in consideration of feedbacks from local residents as well.

The reason to provide new ideas to Nanto city and the community is, Tam said, “I want to leave behind ideas for future town development.”

(Northern Japan News. Fukuno-Inami Branch Director. Hiroshi Masahashi 7.15.2019)

CATALYST (Summer 2019) -  (New York)  雑誌「カタリスト」、ニューヨーク  2019年夏
 
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