Japanese cultural hub to open in 300-year-old Ikigai House in Sheffield due to city's manufacturing heritage
A 300-year-old Sheffield building is to welcome a new Japanese cultural hub thanks to one firm’s links with the country and the city’s history of making.
Ikigai House, a former toolmakers’ building on Arundel Street, will feature a shop and art gallery called Kyoto House showcasing Japanese ceramics and jewellery, as well as selling traditional snacks and sake.
The building is already home to marketing firm Mantra Media, which was set up by Johnny Pawlik and business partner Masa Kuno, and has an office in Kyoto, Japan.
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The new venture is being launched with the Kyoto Prefectural Government.
Johnny said: “Sheffield is one of the most inclusive, considerate and friendly cities in the country. That’s why we have a building here in the city centre and I think Japan as a country has such a similar vibe, it’s a very accepting place that welcomes diverse ways of thinking.
“It’s a triumph for Sheffield to have a company bringing commerce from all over Japan to this city, out of all the other cities in the UK.
“It’s a huge thing for Sheffield and we are very excited.
“It will be an incredible cultural exchange hub where people will be able to explore Japanese crafts and culture.”
Sheffield has a booming international student population, including many students from Japan. One of the factors in securing the project for Sheffield was the city’s fascinating history of making.
Johnny added: “We championed the heritage of Sheffield in the bid. In Japan the Government is really committed to keeping traditional crafts alive.”