Lexus first debuted this documentary, “Takumi – A 60,000-Hour Story on the Survival of Human Craft,” at the DOC NYC film festival in New York. The film, which Lexus calls a character-driven study, has two forms. The feature version will debut on Amazon Prime and other streaming services, but that’s technically a cut from the full-length 60,000-hour version. Yes, 60,000 hours, that’s not a typo. The elongated cut will feature loops and repetitions of various skills as a way to imitate and display what it takes to become a takumi craftsman.
(In case you’re wondering, 60,000 hours translates into 7,500 eight-hour workdays, or more than 20 years if the artisan never took a single day off. Twelve-hour days would attain takumi status in under 14 years. To watch the full-length documentary, running nonstop 24 hours a day without bathroom breaks, you’d need 2,500 days, or nearly seven years.)
The timing of the Clay Jeter-directed (Chef’s Table) documentary is no coincidence, as manufacturing and production has been hit hard by machinery and artificial intelligence. Paired with the idea that everybody now wants things instantly, there is legitimate worry that the art of human craftsmanship is dying.
There are four subjects in the movie: Lexus craftsman Katsuaki Suganuma, carpenter Shigeo Kiuchi, paper artist Nahoko Kojima, and chef Hisato Nakahigashi. Each has an inspiring mentality and story regarding a principle we’ve all been hearing since we were children: “Practice makes perfect.” But a real takumi knows there is no such thing as perfection, only the path toward it.
Watch the trailer for the documentary above.