About Us ... and You

Who is Alfan Select

Alfan Select is a Japan-based online shop that carries a conand original collection of Japan-made CraftArt and Unique-Design objects - rarely available outside Japan - for gift-giving and personal enjoyment! 

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Hi everyone! 
I'm Karen, an American expat living and breathing in Japan for over 25 years and here is my husband, Toshiro, an accomplished business school professor and a native of Niigata.  Welcome!

What We Carry - Value

At Alfan Select, we specialize in that which is not easily available outside this wonderful country: high-quality, contemporary-styled, Japan-made craftArt and design objects for personal use and especially for gift giving!  

Some of these unique distinctive gifts include:  Japan's "best kept secret" Urushi Lacquer jewelry; creatively-engineered titamium cocktail tumblers colored by the magic of light alone; and Master Craftsman work such as our hand-hammered decorative blue-patinated copper vases and other Japanese-style home decor with a Japan minimalist allure.

Who Makes them - Experience

Karen's Traditional Black Maki-e Urushi Box Japan

In Japanese, the word Shokunin, (Edo Period) is imbued with a meaning often associated with a sense of pride, a sense of mastering that also includes an almost soulful dedication to one's craft. The beautiful Urushi Maki-e box here was a wedding gift to us years ago from my husband's parents, and a fine example of traditional work of a shokunin. Yet, this word is still strongly associated with Japanese CraftArtists & Desigers in Japan today who continue to create objects of precision, quality & individual creativity with this heart of the shokunin

How Traditions Keep Evolving

While many Japanese craft/design studios are admirably dedicated to making wonderful traditional objects, we found in our pursuits of fine crafts, that others were diligently creating anew with contemporary flair becoming the new trend in some studios. Many established ateliers are creating a new sense of traditional craftArt, are building on traditional skills, are adding in new tools, venturing into techniques and experimenting and growing in exciting and amazing new contemporary directions in their desire to express their experiences of modern Japan.

Green with Gold Maki-e 200 Year Old Urushi Lacaquerware Bowl from JapanUndiscovered - Uncovered

Yellow Urushi Bangle Rie Sakamoto Designer

Though traditions and skills are the foundational approaches to Japan’s CraftArts,(the green soup Urushi Lacquer bowl here is about 200 years old) many craft studios also enthusiastically embrace and develop modern forms using contemporary tools and techniques as well (contemporary vivid yellow Urushi Lacquer on left). These two approaches may seem contradictory, yet they produce outcomes that are truly authentic, made-in-japan quality and with a craftsmanship that is gift-worthy, and collectable.  

So, at Alfan Select we decided to look beyond the wonderful traditional crafts and explore current artists and studios who are quietly producing these new works and are as of yet, to the outside world undiscovered.

Japan's "Secret"

What we found is still little known (if at all!) outside Japan - Urushi in bright yellows and blues;  hand-crafted bamboo vases with designs strikingly simple and modern; artist hand-hammered, two-cup, blue patina pour-over coffee pot, colorful, titanium sake cocktail tumblers and more.  We found a new wave of Japan original contemporary designs born of new techniques, innovative technologies - requiring various traditional expertise, but also new creativity in design, materials and even in engineering and technology as well.  

Is CraftArt & Design for you?

CraftArts and design are for everyone. Someone like you, of any age, place in life, and place in the world, who wants to experience, enjoy, admire, and appreciate a very human expresion of life - that which is authentic, genuine and embodied in an beautiful object of craft-art and design. We use craftArts, many in our everyday lives.  Creatively made objects connect us with the maker, a new culture, and even a new way  of thinking and being in this world.  Using and enjoying a well made object - everyday - can add needed "space" to a busy life.

So we hope to present you with a chance to enjoy, own and collect an object of beauty; to marvel at a new, bright technology; to color-up your home, your attire, and your every day life.... or to give as a truly original gift ... a gift to someone special - a loving father, a caring sister, a friend who is always there, or perhaps to a newly and joyfully-engaged couple!  A craftArt or design gift, is always additionally meaningful when it is a highly personal giftindividually made, of exceptional quality and craftsmanship, and uniquely original ...  As a gift, yours will be the only one......

Our Amazing Ateliers - Japan in 2022 

We felt SO PROUD at Alfan Select to represent these small craft studios, ateliers, fine artists, designers and even "craft-engineers" at such an exciting time! Though slowed a little by the global health challenge, luckily, authentic, handcrafted, or designer products, have great worth and value and will surely endure.  We hope to continue to add to our collection over the coming next months and to continually add new, rare, and worthy craft art and design to our shop. So welcome to our shop, and explore! We feel 2022 will be great!

So what do you think?  Drop me an email and let's chat!  Cheers,  Karen

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