master, craftsperson, artisan; skill; idea
Thank you for visiting this Character Home Page. Below you'll find a synopsis of the essay. If you wish to read the full text, the PDF of the essay is available for purchase to the right.
See how marketers have coopted 匠, which conveys an impressive mastery of an art or craft. This kanji was originally associated with carpentry, which carries little prestige in the United States. To grasp how it could be the opposite in Japan, I consulted Len Brackett, once a temple carpenter in Kyoto. His comments illuminate this essay, as do photos of his work.
Jan. 30., 2015: Fixed a typo in the p. 7 photo caption.
Sept. 19, 2012: Added 8 photos to p. 4 and pp. 10–14. Also made "master" the primary definition of this kanji, adjusting the discussion on p. 2 accordingly. If you download the PDF now, you'll still see the earlier main definition (craftsperson) as part of the filename. Changing that at this stage would create download problems.