The last wartime issue of Mingei appeared in December 1944. The next year
was passed by the members of the Mingei Association, as for most Japanese,
in the simple struggle for existence. Many fled bomb-ravaged Tokyo and its
environs for the relative safety of rural or provincial destinations, while
others straggled back to Japan from military and colonial postings in Korea,
China, and elsewhere. Precious collections were buried in gardens, or bro-
ken up for safe keeping, or even lost and destroyed. Yanagi fell seriously ill
and was bedridden for the last months of the war.
Nevertheless the movement and its central institutions managed a re-
markably rapid postwar recovery. By January 1946 the convalescent Yanagi
was already drafting the manuscript for Nihon no mingei (Folk-Crafts of Japan),
which was published several years
later.∞ The Folk-Crafts Museum in Tokyo
reopened for weekends in January and February, and then daily beginning in
March. The shop Takumi started up again. In the year following Japan’s
surrender, four new regional branches of the Mingei Association were estab-
lished, in the prefectures of Nagano, Toyama, and Okayama and in the city of
Kyoto. The first postwar issue of Mingei was put out in July 1946, and K¯ogei
resumed publication at the end of the
In regaining its institutional and organizational footing after the war,
the mingei movement made certain ideological adjustments. References
to Greater East Asia and the holy war on corrupt Western commercialism
dropped away, to be replaced by assertions of the fundamentally democratic,
peaceful nature of folk-craft and a reemphasis on earlier, Anglo-American
Previous Page Next Page