Japan House London has been shortlisted in the prestigious Museums + Heritage Awards for Shop of the Year Award. Created to celebrate innovative and ground-breaking initiatives from museums, galleries and heritage visitor attractions across the UK and overseas, the retail award celebrates best practice in museum and heritage retailing.

Within less than a year, Japan House London has welcomed over 400,000 visitors since opening its doors on 22 June 2018.

Japan House London has been shortlisted in the Museums + Heritage Awards                                                             Japan House London photo © Nacása & Partners Inc

Designed to offer an authentic Japanese cultural retail experience not seen before in London, The Shop at Japan House blurs the concept between shop and gallery. From crafts rooted in Japanese traditions to one-of-a-kind pieces by artists, each product has a story to tell, introducing the cultures of Japan, and what makes it such a captivating nation. The retail offering introduces the products and the artisans and designers who have created them, alongside the history and social context of how they were developed and used. At the core of its curation is the monozukuri philosophy – literally meaning the art of making things.

Top selling items are regularly those presented in conjunction with Japan House London’s exhibitions. During the SUBTLE: Delicate or Infinitesimal exhibition (November - December 2018) the exhibition book by curator Hara Kenya SUBTLE: Takeo Paper Show and ‘airvase’ designed by TORAFU ARCHITECTS and made with Takeo Paper were in high demand.

Japan House London has been shortlisted in the Museums + Heritage Awards                                                             Japan House London photo © Nacása & Partners Inc

Over the course of the Biology of Metal exhibition (September-October 2018) 77 workshops, demonstrations and talks were held giving visitors the opportunity to meet metalworkers, craftspeople and gardeners from Tsubame-Sanjo, Japan. Visitors could see first-hand how the products in The Shop were made, and even work with the craftspeople from Japan to make their own chopsticks, spoons or copper plates. One workshop had an extra special guest, Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, tried his hand at copper beating with master craftsmen from Gyokusendo and local school children.

The current exhibition - Living Colours: Kasane – the Language of Japanese Colour Combinations (5 April - 19 May 2019) again offers the opportunity to meet the makers, hear them tell their stories and demonstrate their craft; as well as buy their natural-dyed silk works in The Shop. In the exhibition’s first week some of the silk scarves dyed by the dyer weavers of the Yoshioka Dyeing Workshop  in Kyoto, who produced the works in the exhibition, have already sold out, with more items being flown over from Japan.

Since opening in June 2018, Japan House presents the very best in Japanese art, design, gastronomy, innovation and technology, and aims to showcase all that Japan has to offer. Located on Kensington High Street, the experience is an authentic encounter with Japanese culture, and includes an exhibition gallery, events space, and restaurant alongside the curated retail space. Japan House London is one of three global locations, along with Los Angeles and São Paulo, created by the Government of Japan to offer insights into Japan that go beyond the stereotypes and offer a deeper exploration of the country.

The full shortlist for the Museums + Heritage Awards includes: Shop of the Year with turnover over £500,000

• Lumsden Design for V&A Dundee V&A Dundee Shop
• BALTIC Shop, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art BALTIC Shop Refurbishment
• Japan House London The Shop at Japan House London
• RAF Museum RAF Museum RAF Centenary Programme
• National Museums Liverpool China's First Emperor and the Terracotta Warriors exhibition shop at World Museum

The winners of the 2019 Museums + Heritage Awards will be announced on 15 May 2019.

Japan House London has been shortlisted in the prestigious Museums + Heritage Awards for Shop of the Year Award. Created to celebrate innovative and ground-breaking initiatives from museums, galleries and heritage visitor attractions across the UK and ove

Councillor Gerard Hargreaves, Lead Member for Communities and Culture at Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea said:

“The shop at Japan House has made a unique contribution to Kensington High Street. We are proud to have the cultural centre, but having the shop, showcasing Japanese craftsmanship, at ground level means that we have a very attractive and interesting frontage that’s a real asset to our High Street.”

Michael Houlihan, Director General of Japan House London said:

“At Japan House, The Shop has been conceived and curated as both a cultural experience and a learning opportunity. The very highest quality products of Japanese craftsmanship and design give guests a profound understanding of how tradition informs contemporary Japanese culture.”

Kato Saeko, Planning Director, Welcome Inc. and Curator of The Shop at Japan House London spent over two years searching Japan for the best makers, designers and innovators to introduce to the UK. As the curator of The Shop at Japan House London, Kato is in charge of merchandise selection and planning and retail display.

Kato Saeko, Curator of The Shop at Japan House London said:

“With so many top quality cultural attractions in the UK, I am truly honoured for The Shop at Japan House be shortlisted for this award. We offer a social retail experience by providing items that can be valued and used in daily life, while also introducing the background to the items and the people who made them. There are many things in Japan that are not yet known abroad that can enrich peoples’ lives.
This project has been an opportunity for me to learn more about my roots, to travel through regional Japan and meet a wide range of people. I curate The Shop as I learn about the products and the people who make them.
The Shop at Japan House London aims to bring Japan’s wonderful industries, products and talented people to the world. Through this project I am enjoying connecting Japan and the UK, and the wider world.”

Hara Kenya, Chief Creative Director of the global Japan House project and Professor of Musashino Art University said about The Shop at Japan House London:

"There is no such store in Japan. It is a store that was created not to sell lots to things, but to express the essence of Japan. Through this store even we continue to rediscover Japan every day."

Hara Kenya at Japan House London Opening

Japan House London appointed Katayama Masamichi, founder and Principal of Wonderwall and prominent interior designer, to create a space that would embody the aesthetic and notional concepts that Japan House is based on.

Katayama Masamichi, Principal/Founder of Wonderwall and Professor of Musashino Art University said:

“Wonderwall decided on the concept of tokonoma, a raised alcove in a Japanese home where guests can admire displays of art such as a hanging scroll (kakemono) or seasonal flowers (ikebana). It is a space where the atmosphere changes according to who is in it, items displayed, events and even the seasons. Our goal was to create such a space that echoes the unique Japanese quality. We consciously eliminated so-called ‘Japanese style’ in the materials and details. Here at Japan House London, the guests - Londoners and visitors to the city - are the one of the essential elements.”

Katayama Masamichi at Japan House London Opening


For more information or images please contact:

Hollie Mantle, PR Manager [email protected]

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