The online magazine HIGHLIGHTING JAPAN

October 2020




    The colors that exist in nature stir a variety of emotions in Japanese people. In this month’s Feature, we introduce some of the quintessential colors of Japan and look at some of the ways in which natural colors and the emotions they engender are used and expressed in the arts.



  • Dyeing by Natural Color

    An interview with Shimura Yoko, a dyeing and weaving artist who creates textiles using only plant-based dyes.

  • The Colors of Fall Captured in Waka Poetry

    The colors of the autumn leaves is a popular theme in the classical poetry of Japan known as “waka.”

  • The Light of the Moon

    “Instead of being called the ‘Land of the Rising Sun,’ Japan should be called the ‘Land of the Beautiful Moon.’”—Peter MacMillan

  • The Golden Rice Fields of Owarabi

    In autumn, the iconic rice terraces of Owarabi in Yamanobe, Yamagata Prefecture take on the appearance of a golden-colored carpet.

  • Gold, Silver, Platinum and Black: The Timeless Art of Makie

    Makie is a technique in which traditional themes of natural beauty are created by sprinkling gold, silver or platinum powder over jet-black lacquer.

  • Kimono Combinations: The Seasons in Layers of Silk

    “Layer color combination” charts were once essential reference tools in the court for dressing appropriately and elegantly.

  • Vermilion Tunnels of Thanks

    Vermilion-colored torii gates in their thousands form tunnels on the grounds of Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine in Kyoto.

  • A Candy-Colored Residence

    An apartment complex on the outskirts of Tokyo doubles as a work of art.


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