The Japan Hobby Show has been running for 42 years, attracting everyone from professional artisans, retailers scouting for new trends, to the home hobbyist getting supplies and joining a workshop. It’s organised by the Hobby Association of Japan with support from national government ministries, the Tokyo Government and industry associations such as the Craft & Hobby Association of Japan (The full list of supporters is below*). That extent of organisational involvement indicates that it’s more than just retailers selling their wares to passionate crafters. It’s a showcase of the professions which make up the craft and artisan sector in Japan. For an outsider, the breadth of support shows how deep the culture of making and crafting runs in Japanese society. All good news if you’re a crafter visiting Japan.
The hall of exhibitors houses mainstream brands of sewing machines, art supplies, fabric and needlework supplies, and jewellery, with a featured collection of fashion designers and small makers. A central stage and catwalk provides entertainment during the event. The students from the design colleges have their work strutted down the catwalk, alongside established designers and makers. It must be a thrilling experience for young fashion design students.
The number of people is just phenomenal. Thousands pour through the doors for every day of the three day event at Tokyo’s Big Sight convention centre. During two days of the Hobby Show , a second event is open in the hall next door – the Minne handmade market. Minne, is the online shop selling handmade wares. It’s very much Japan’s version of Etsy.