Japan and Light

Good lighting is really hard to find and our lampshades always attract a crowd at the shows we do. Whether paper chouchin, hand-turned wood or cotton Kasuri, all our shades have something in common: the quality of the light.

On our lighting page is a quote from In Praise of Shadows by Junichiro Tanizaki: "Western paper turns away the light, while our paper seems to take it in, to envelop it gently, like the soft surface of a first snowfall", and it was a part of Tanizaki’s response to Japan’s headlong pursuit of modernization in the late 19th and early part of the 20th century. He felt that the interplay between light and dark whether in Japanese architecture, Noh theater, or lacquerware was an integral part of Japanese traditional aesthetics that was in danger of being lost.

Of course, In Praise of Shadows was part polemic and partially an argument that literature was one of the last remaining arts where this interplay could be experienced and encouraged. Comparing to the authors of the preceding Meiji period, Tanizaki’s exploration of the dark recesses of his and his characters’ minds was certainly a radical feature of his stories.

Here you can see the soft reflection from our hand-turned wood lampshades by Morita Lacquer

But our lighting keeps this Japanese sensibility and it really is soft, intimate and warm. The natural materials do "envelop" the light gently as well as reflecting it which means that our lights can hang right over your table or counter casting a gentle light without disturbing or annoying you.

And our customers seem to agree - all our cotton shades were sold at the show and we are busy making more, and we will get them up on the website as soon as we can!