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Living Art
Kanazawa, Japan


Parking Lot for UFOs: An obscure Japanese town puts out the welcome mat for extraterrestrials—and tourists

It's tough being the son of a national treasure. but Kenji Maida, wannabe architect turned silk artist, is resigned to preserving the legacy of his famous father, Jinro. Maida's shop is in Kanazawa, a city in central Japan where sons have learned the family craft for centuries. Still, Kanazawa's 250 silk dyers are changing with the times, trading old patterns for funkier graphics and designing cocktail dresses as well as kimono. "It's a living art," says Maida. "We reflect today's tastes." When he retires, the shop will go to his son Hitoshi, 25. "I want a tech job," says the son. "But I know I must stay." With the weight of Japan's artistic tradition on his shoulders, Hitoshi has no other choice.

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