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Speech made by JICC Director Futao Motai at the opening of the Embassy's temari exhibition

16 May 05

Counsellor Motai delivers a speech
Counsellor Motai delivers a speech

Ladies and Gentlemen,

As Director of the Information and Cultural Centre, I would like to welcome you all to the opening of this Japanese Temari Exhibition. It also gives me great pleasure to welcome a group from the Japan Temari Cultural Association who have come all the way to London to share the beauty of their art with you.

Among the numerous manifestations of traditional Japanese culture, temari, a kind of ball, is a highly significant element. Its origins go back more than 1,200 years to a time when women used to roll or bounce temari for their amusement. However, the essence of temari lies in the beauty of the thread and other materials used and the way they are combined. One can also enjoy the great variety of colours and designs reflecting differing local tastes, such as those associated with Wakayama and Fukuoka, to mention just a couple.

The works displayed at this exhibition were crafted by members of the Japan Temari Cultural Association. If I may talk a little about the Association, since its establishment 10 years ago it has devoted itself to handing down temari-making techniques to future generations. It has recorded for posterity every one of those techniques. At the same time, it publishes a manual to encourage the development of contemporary temari designs. In recent years the Association has begun to promote temari overseas, such as in Paris and Seoul. Its current visit to the UK, although short, includes not only this exhibition but a school workshop as well.

At first glance, it looks as though temari-making requires a somewhat intricate technique. However, temari is easy for anyone to take up and enjoy. Indeed, some of the people here tonight tried their hand at temari for the first time in the workshop organised by the Association earlier today.

I very much hope that, through this exhibition and workshop, many of you will gain a feel for the beauty of this aspect of Japanese culture and that your interest in everything to do with Japan will grow.

Thank you.

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