Arts and crafts gallery shop “RENEMIA” is a 2-minute walk from Makishi Monorail Station, on a side street of Kokusai Dori. The most bustling street in Okinawa, Kokusai Dori is usually full of people looking for souvenirs and enjoying the general excitement of the area. Reaching RENEMIA, the hustle and bustle fades into the background, and Kokusai Dori feels like it’s in the distant past. You might be tempted to ask: What is the source of this sense of tranquility and calm? Looking around, the mystery is solved.
Makishi Park. This park, enveloped in quiet, is located directly across from the shop, giving one the feeling it is actually part of the shop. It’s a small park, and the presence of cherry trees and a large Deigo (tiger’s claw) tree make it appear majestic. This beautifully intriguing landscape is what one sees from the shop’s glass-enclosed entrance.
RENEMIA was opened in 2013 by Okinawan husband and wife team, Hiroyuki Kaneshiro, a designer, and Mirei Kaneshiro, an illustrator. Born and raised in Makishi, Hiroyuki’s thoughts were on the the next generation when naming the shop after his daughters.
RENEMIA mainly introduces the work of Okinawan artists. It also offers domestic and international products; aware this exchange can be a source of inspiration for their fellow Okinawans. On the day I visited, there was an exhibition of woodworker Yuriko Nishiishigaki. In conjunction with woodwork that highlights the simple beauty of Okinawan trees, a calendar of flowers drawn by Mirei also brightens the room. The large counter located in the back is an open kitchen, and the entire space gives you the feeling of an inviting openness and ease. The layout of the shop can be altered depending on the function. This fluidity, an integral part of the design, makes it clear RENEMIA is not bound by fixed categories. And that may be the “future” and the “present” of arts and crafts that RENEMIA envisions.
Hiroyuki, who is making great effort to infuse new value into the crafts and designs created in Okinawa, collaborated with the Tsuboya pottery company “Ikutouen“. He was also involved in the ornament selection at “Hotel Strata Naha” which opened in Miebashi in 2020. RENEMIA, while bridging tradition and innovation, brings out the beauty in everyday living, and is on course to draw attention to the arts of Okinawa for years to come.