Art & Design


6 September - 28 October 2018, London

BIOLOGY OF METAL: METAL CRAFTSMANSHIP IN TSUBAME-SANJO presents an illustration of how craftsmanship and small industry are embedded in tradition, embrace the new, and adapt in a changing society. It is inspired by the Tsubame-Sanjo Factory Festival (Kouba no Saiten) initiative, a form of ‘factory open house’ held every year at the beginning of October in Tsubame-Sanjo.


Tsubame-Sanjo is an area in the northern Japanese prefecture of Niigata. It is known for the precision and skill of the craftspeople from its numerous small metalworking factories and workshops manufacturing a huge variety of products. It produces the majority of all of present-day Japan’s cutlery, its businesses have developed ultra fine metal-polishing techniques, and the area boasts a centuries-old ‘Living National Treasure’ copperware manufacturing tradition.


Tsubame Sanjo is the only area in Japan to produce all cutting tools, numbering over 60 kinds, used in the creation of bonsai. It produces specialized knives of all shapes and sizes for all manner of uses such as for preparing squid or tuna, for opening oysters or crabs, or for cutting lettuce, carrots or garlic. For the domestic and international market, it produces precision machine parts, pliers, scissors, chisels and planes, kitchenware, axes, trowels, stylish outdoor camping goods and finely crafted drinking vessels for the region’s famous sake.


Throughout the course of the exhibition a range of talks, demonstrations and workshops are on offer at Japan House London


BIOLOGY OF METAL: METAL CRAFTSMANSHIP IN TSUBAME-SANJO is created in collaboration with the Tsubame-Sanjo Factory Festival (Kouba no Saiten).


Admission Free

6 September - 28 October 2018

Japan House, 101-111 Kensington High Street, London W8 5SA

Japan House