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James Fox looks at the clean minimalism of the Japanese home, which has been exported around the world, from modernist architecture to lifestyle stores like Muji.

In the final episode, Dr James Fox explores the art of the Japanese home. The clean minimalism of the Japanese home has been exported around the world, from modernist architecture to lifestyle stores like Muji. But the origins of this ubiquitous aesthetic evolved from a system of spiritual and philosophical values, dating back centuries. James visits one of Japan's last surviving traditional wooden villages, and the 17th-century villa of Rinshunkaku, and reveals how the unique spirit of Japanese craftsmen (shokunin) turned joinery into an artform - creating houses without the need for nails, screws or even glue.

Exploring some of the traditional arts of the Japanese home (where even food and flower arranging have been elevated to the level of art), James also investigates attitudes to domestic culture in modern Japan, meeting photographer Kyoichi Tsuzuki, chronicler of Japan's crowded cities and tiny apartments.

Other highlights include a performance by calligrapher and artist Tomoko Kawao and a visit to the hometown of Terunobu Fujimori, one of the most singular and playful contemporary architects working in Japan today.

1 hour

Last on

Fri 24 Sep 2021 02:40

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Music Played

Timings (where shown) are from the start of the programme in hours and minutes

  • 00:20

    Penguin Cafe Orchestra


  • 00:44

    Jon Hopkins

    The Low Places

  • 00:55

    Max Richter

    Dream 13 (minus even)


Role Contributor
Presenter James Fox
Series Producer Matthew Springford
Executive Producer Richard Bright
Producer Jude Ho


Featured in...

BBC Four's Japan season

BBC Four's Japan season

Three weeks of programmes on the art and culture of Japan.