Whiplash – Zakka

by kath_red on 27/08/2007

in Whiplash

Its really been quality over quantity this month at whiplash. I think the Zakka theme has stumped many people – but I am glad to see people questioning meaning – Zakka is a style that we in the west have taken to due its surface qualities but the deeper meaning of it all is hidden for those without an understanding of Asian culture and history. In Asian – especially Japan Zakka is a cultural phenomena/fad that is all about a certain style, but it is part of a broader feeling that comes from within their history and religion and philosophy and is ingrained in a way that those of us in the West will never be able to fully ‘grok’ and struggle to really understand.

I have loved all the entries – thank you for taking the time to upload your link and post about your fabu projects.

girl on the rocks

I struggled with this a bit as I never had a good idea of what zakka really meant. I don’t know that I have figured it out, but I was able to see some common elements in all of the examples. To me they seemed to be simple handmade projects often for a practical use, that are occasionally tastefully embellished. I don’t have a lot of free time this month so I thought that I might be able to add a little embellishment to something. Many of the examples used very natural colors and fabrics…

Hanne from Heaven and Earth

I’ve often seen bloggers using the expression “zakka” and wondered about the meaning. What´s zakka? … I´ve just made this bucket bag out of an ancient piece of heavy homespun found at a lumber room at Samsø a couple of years ago. The lining is a faded red tablecloth. That´s recycling for sure – but I wonder if it qualifies as zakka too?

Zakka life Octopus mitt with pattern.

mettatations tutorial for a lovely heat bag.

crafty beats pockets made from a dishcloth – with pattern and instructions.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 littlesnoring August 27, 2007 at 1:53 pm

Thanks for the update, you gave me the push along to actually post some zakka inspired projects. I was quite excited when you announced the theme, because it does seem to a phrase or description used a lot in the blogosphere and I guess there are a lot of interpretations of what it actually means. Maybe there will be a flurry of last minute posts as the month ends.


2 filambulle August 27, 2007 at 2:20 pm

I must confess I have missed this theme. And there is no way I will be able to make something for it in the nest 4 days. Which is a pity, because I love zakkas!
(not too offensive expletive to be included here)


3 a. September 8, 2007 at 8:02 pm

I agree, this is definitely a phenomenon that people in the West don’t fully understand and probably never will, because our cultures are really very different. I notice that many confuse “handmade” and “craft” with “zakka”, sometimes “kawai’i” with both of the former, and so on. One isn’t necessarily the other. I believe that language barriers play strongly into this (e.g., too few Japanese bloggers explaining, too few Westerners being able to read Japanese and having a good understanding of Japanese culture), and I doubt that there will ever be serious efforts to translate Japanese craft and hobby books at least into English.

The interesting thing about this is how people in the West now sort of “reclaim” Western things from Japanese trends, when it has already been very interesting to see what Japanese do with items we in the West hardly notice anymore, because they have become such an unsensational part of our daily lives.

There is a very interesting and informative article over at the Herald Tribune, written by Kaori Shoji, and it nails the phenomenon pretty precisely on its head:


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