What differentiate officially accredited traditional crafts from others?


“Traditional Japanese crafts” are special from others

What is the difference between traditional crafts and local crafts?”

What is the line between traditional crafts and traditional culture?

First of all, traditional crafts refer to crafts that have been handed down over the years. All of these are called “traditional crafts,” and there are approximately 1,300 types of traditional crafts in Japan. From among these traditional crafts, the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry further designates them as “traditional crafts. There is no clear definition of traditional crafts, but the designation of traditional crafts is clearly defined as follows;

Requirements for Designation as Traditional Crafts

1. The product must be mainly used in daily life.

2. The main part of the manufacturing process must be handicraft.

3. The product must be manufactured using traditional techniques or skills.

4. The product is manufactured using traditionally used raw materials as the main raw material.

5. The product is manufactured by or engaged in by a certain number of persons in a certain region.
This point is also discussed in this article.

 the categories of traditional crafts

What is traditional culture

It is difficult to describe in words what tradition is, but according to some dictionaries, it is “a spirituality passed down from generation to generation” or “the historical significance of human behavior, thoughts, and customs.

In Japan, there is something that has been handed down from the distant past to the present day, something that has been passed down from generation to generation in order to survive. These include lifestyles, customs, practices, and values that have been shared and passed down throughout society as a whole as we survive and live as human beings. In local communities, unique customs, practices, lifestyles, arts and customs rooted in daily life that have been created by local characteristics have also been handed down in the form of traditions over the long history of the community.

Traditional culture, traditional crafts, and traditional arts are those that have been universally respected and handed down through the long history of the region, and are rooted in the region and handed down along with the lifestyle of the local community. They are things that have been handed down as part of local culture in the form of festivals, Shinto rituals, traditional performing arts, customs, and events, and things that were once used as tools for daily life, but whose value has changed from use to artistic or craft value, and whose techniques have been handed down as the skills of masters.

Traditions have been passed down to the present day in a variety of forms, including those handed down mainly by the state and those passed down mainly by local communities and households.

So, what is local industry?

Local industry refers to industries that take advantage of the natural conditions of a certain region, such as climate and climate. Traditional industries refer to industries that produce goods using techniques that should be protected in Japan.

– Detailed explanation

The difference between local industry and traditional industry is whether it is an industry that makes use of local characteristics or an industry that has existed in the country for a long time.

Local industries are those that take advantage of the natural conditions of a certain region, such as climate and climate. For example, fishing in coastal communities and forestry in mountainous areas. In more detail, local industry aims to make a specialty of resources from a micro perspective. In addition to food products such as mandarin oranges and apples, products that characterize the region have been developed in many other fields, such as glasswork and towel industry. The attraction of concentrated factories is also necessary to revitalize local industries.

Traditional industry refers to industries that produce goods using techniques that should be protected in Japan. Wajima lacquerware and Arita-yaki are well-known examples of traditional industries. Other examples include dyeing and craftsmanship, which are handmade one by one by craftsmen.


These Japanese classifications are rather vague and far from MECE, the term used in business. Japanese students learn about traditional crafts and local industries throughout the country in junior high school, but few students have a clear understanding of the differences and how to distinguish them. Few people, even teachers, can accurately explain this point in the first place. In a slightly twisted way, this ambiguity is what makes Japan unique.

It is not uncommon to take advantage of a situation like this, where you can somehow belong to either side, and brand well in both directions. If the products of local industries become popular, they will be promoted there, and if traditional culture becomes popular, they will be promoted as traditional culture. In a sense, this is a business practice that makes the most of Japanese ambiguity. That is why only “traditional crafts” are clearly delineated by law. Japan recognizes traditional crafts through its laws in order to provide you with products that have a different history, value, and quality than those that can somehow belong to either category.

Let's share this post !