"WAZA 2019" The traditional crafts exhibition was held in Tobu department store Ikebukuro from 21st to 26th Feb.
About 100 Japanese traditional crafts are on display. This event is held once a year so I really recommend to join it next year!
I discovered the wonderful crafts and saw how amazing the craftsmen behind the works were.
"Togouchi-Kurimono" from Hiroshima
Kurimono is the things such as ladles, spoons and bowls which are hollowed out the wood by knife or mino, type of metal scraper. The craftsman hollow out one by one, it takes time and needs the skills of a professional.
The craftsman showed me the ladle. There are holes in one side so if you want to scoop the ingredients, you should tilt the ladle to holes side. If you want to scoop the soup, you should tilt the ladle to the other side. This is very useful!
HP: http://yokohata-craft.com/html/history.html (Japanese only)
"Kakegawa-Kuzufu" from Shizuoka
Kakegawa is the city in Shizuoka Prefecture, kuzu is the arrowroot and fu is the cloth.
So Kakegawa- kuzufu is the cloth which is made from arrowroot in Kakegawa city.
Actually it is the first time to learn that cloth can be made from arrowroot! The process is all by hand and it takes a lot of works. You can see the process below.
taking the arrowroot vine →boil→ put it in water→ let it rest on the ground→ washing it → removing the core→dry it
Now fourth generations uphold the tradition. They have dedicated the kuzufu-goods to the Emperors of three generations.
HP: http://www.kuzufu.jp/distance.html (Japanese only)
"Sendai -Tansu Metalwork" from Sendai
Craftsman: Eikichi Yaegashi
Sendai- tansu means a chest made in Sendai Prefecture.
Sendai- tansu is made from zelkova tree and lacquered many times. This is made by some people. One is a cabinetwork, another is a lacquerwork, and the other is a metalwork.
In this event, a famous metalworker Eikichi Yaegashi showed how is the metalwork.
He sit cross-legged, put the metal plate on his knee and metal fitting. He feels the pain of knee but he just endures it because he can not put the muscle into the metal if he can not use his knee.
He did not make a draft and metal fitting directly.
He said the important thing is to make the metal fitting tools like a graver. The craftsman are needed the skill but more crucial thing is tools, how they can make the better tools.
He also try to do new things. Not only to take over the tradition but make new ideas and challenge the original design.
HP: http://www.nsk-nakanishi.co.jp/industrial/itoshikimonotachi/18/index.html (Japanese only)
"Hidehira-Nuri" from Iwate
Hidehira is the name of the third Fujiwara Shogun(General) and Nuri means lacquering(painting).
When you find lacquerware, you will reach "blah-blah Shikki". Shikki companies make wares but might not lacquer. However Nuri means lacquering so if you want to find the real lacquering companies or bland, you should find like "blah-blah Nuri".
I found Hidehira-Nuri here and bought a black bowl. I used it for my dinner and felt more delicious than usual! The important thing is not only what we eat but how we eat!
The characteristic of Hiedehira-Nuri is the shrine of black, red and gold lacquer and the refined design with glasses and flowers of each seasons.
The craftsman said that the lacquerware will shiner after use.
Please use and feel the comfortable Hidehira-Nuri.
HP: https://hidehiranuri.jp/ (only Japanese)
"Bizen Pottery" from Okayama
Bizen Pottery is one of the oldest pottery in Japan. It is in Bizen city in Okayama Prefecture.
Bizen Pottery is put in the kiln unglazed and has burned for 8 to 20 days. This Bizen's simplicity is from meeting the fire and earth naturally.
There are no same Bizen potteries in the world because the temperature of fire and the condition of earth are always different.
You can find THE ONLY ONE pottery here.
There are 15 potteries, 186 artists and 8 shops in Bizen city. If you drop off Imbe station, Bizen city, you can enjoy visiting lots of potteries and seeing artists. Some artists work in the small pottery which is next to their house.
This time, I talked with one artist, Hiroyuki Matsui. He is very talkative and has strong passion. His coffee cup is as below.
Please visit Bizen potteries in Bizen city, Okayama.
"Nambu Tekki" from Iwate
Nambu- Tekki is an iron kettle. Nambu- tekki is more than 350 years old.
Nowadays, it is getting colorful. Pink, green, yellow... the lovely iron kettle combines the weight, delicateness, and warmth.
"Kishu-tansu from Wakayama"
Kisyu is the old name of wakayama Prefecture. Tansu is the wooden wardrobe.
The people here has been producing tansu since 1850.
Now only 5 people take over the tradition and try to do originality and ingenuity.
Kisyu-tansu is made of paulownia, type of tree.
Wakayama Prefecture is originally called " the city of trees" because the tree god sleep in this area. There are forests, trees and rivers. Lots of good wood are gathered and the tansu made of this is white, light and soft. Also the paulownia is little stretch and protects the things inside the tansu in stead of burning when the fire accident happens. That is why the paulownia is suitable for tansu which keep the cloths and properties.
HP: http://www.shiga-mokkou.com/ (Japanese only)