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.