Why on earth would anyone choose a business name that few can remember or pronounce?  We chose “Mingei”  because it is a wonderful word, and one that defies easy translation.

Mingei (pronounced Min- gay) is a modern Japanese word formed by combining the root “min” meaning “all people”, and “gei” meaning art, the same root as in the word “geisha”.  The term was coined by Dr. Yanagi Soetsu in 1926 to describe traditional hand-made crafts that had been set aside in favor of mass-produced items as the world became industrialized.  In contrast to the fine arts which produce objects for an aesthetic purpose, Mingei objects are most often made by unknown craftspeople for everyday use.  Mingei’s simple beauty is accessible, functional, and satisfying to the senses and the spirit.

We believe that people need mingei, that it is essential to the human spirit to interact with hand-made, and therefore imperfect,  items each day.


3 Responses to “What does “Mingei” mean anyway?”


  1. 1 Rose Smith
    June 14, 2010 at 6:05 pm

    I am looking for a gift item from Changsha, Hunan. My neice is from there, and the present would be for my boss on Boss’s Day. Thanks in advance.

    Rose
    Conyers, GA

    • 2 mingeiworld
      June 15, 2010 at 9:08 am

      We have some lovely old teal glazed wine pots from Hunan Province, and a candlestick of the same glaze. The pots are $85. Come in and see!

  2. 3 Nan (nan desu ka no Nan)
    September 26, 2010 at 11:10 am

    Just a note about mingei

    When I lived in Japan in the early 1970′s I developed a great interest in mingei. I lived in Kobe and frequented a tiny mingei shop near Daimaru. I can’t remember his name unfortunately, but he was my sensei in all things mingei. Where ever I traveled in Japan, he would connect me to craft artisans in that area.

    I learned that besides being the arts of the people it was important that mingei is made by the unknown craftsman-no personal signature. In Japan at that time there was some disagreement between mingei artists and collectors versus the famous craftsmen like Hamada.


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