Art & Design

   

The Other Side of Japanese Culture

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Moving to Melbourne from Japan four years ago, Yutaka Matsuda (Matsu) worked in the kitchen of North Island cafe before opening Ura with his partner Hannah on Johnston Street late last year.

Matsu started his business because he felt the exported elements of Japanese culture (ie kimonos and antiques) didn’t reflect the subtleties and subcultures of his country. Ura, which means ‘the reverse side’ is dedicated to showing another side – Matsu’s side – if you will, of Japanese culture.

This includes an considered selection of Japanese fashion, artwork, music, pottery and general bits and bobs. There are pop-art kitsch postcards from artist Tadanori Yokoo, who designed Grateful Dead posters, a range of Muji clothes and the twin-toed Tabi shoes from Sou-Sou, a boot originally designed for construction workers to balance on bamboo poles and now popular with the kids.

And for the fashionista who has everything, Matsu has scoured the second-hand clothing markets of Kyota and Osaka and has brought back a booty of clothing. He tells me that in Japan there are cultural and religious reasons people don’t like to buy second-hand clothes, which means great pickins’ for those that don’t mind.

In addition to the imported stuff there’s a range of products from Melbourne-based Japanese artists, from the delicate pottery of Yoko Ozawa to music from Tailor Made for a Small Room. Most items are accompanied with a blurb about the artist, as Matsu believes it’s important for people to know the story behind the product.

And as you walk through the curated selection at Ura, you feel that Matsu is telling his own story.

Ura
28 Johnston Street, Fitzroy
9416 4503
Tues – Fri 12 noon – 6pm
Sat 11am – 6pm
Sun 11am – 5pm
Closed Monday
www.ura-store.com.au


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