NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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2008/8/29


はりみ(紙製ちりとり) Harimi(Kamisei-Chiritori) Harimi (Paper Dustpans)

Jp En

When most rooms in Japanese houses had tatami floors, an easy daily cleanup was done with broom and dustpan. Sweeping removed dust quickly and was a simple activity that kept everyday life clean.

Such scenes are seen less and less often these days, but is this a good thing, even though our lifestyles are getting more diverse? Just to clean up a small space, we have to pull out a vacuum cleaner, use it for a short period, then put it back.

Bearing this in mind, why don't you keep a broom and 'harimi' (paper dustpan) in your room? A harimi is made from Japanese paper coated with persimmon tannin, and the size is about 20cm. The color of a harimi is appropriate and it will fit in with any kind of room. The size is quite small and it does not appear jarring.

Daily tools like a harimi look wonderful, even when left lying around in a room. Moreover, a harimi is very useful when used with a small broom for little spaces such as desktops and shelves.
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2008/3/5


月のお皿 Tsukino-osara Moon Plate

Jp En

Originally Japan had many words to describe the moon according to its changing shape through waxing and waning. They are all elegantly named for the different phases: Shin-getsu (new moon), San-getsu (very fine moon of 2nd day), Mika-zuki (crescent, 3rd day ), Jougen no tsuki (bow shape moon of 7th day), Komochi-zuki (near full moon of 14th day), Tachimachi-zuki ( standing and waiting for the moon to appear, 17th day), Nemachi-zuki (Laying down and waiting for the moon to appear, 19th day), Ariake-zuki (morning moon, 26th day or general name after 16th) and so on.

The Moon Plate created by Mutsuko Shibata is a simple but imposing plate with a beautiful gold drizzled pattern. It has strength in its stillness. With a variety of food and seasonal ingredients available, you can enjoy the rich compliment of the two faces of the plate and food, a luxury in daily life.

You can arrange food to look like a hazy moon, or see a beam from the moon light in the golden drops. Besides being perfect to serve guests, the plate is also a good everyday item.

Dimensions:
Large  W 27 cm x D 27 cmx H 2.5 cm
Small   W 15 cm x D 15 cm x H 2 cm
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2007/6/29


京都 掛札  Kyoto Kakefuda Kyoto Kakefuda

Jp En

Kyoto Kakefuda, founded in 1925, is a long-established dyehouse in Shijyo Horikawa, Kyoto. Since its beginning, the store has been known as a custom order specialty store making the silk “furoshiki” wrapping cloth and the “fukusa” wrapping cloth which traditionally has a family crest and is passed from one generation to the next.

Hidetaka Kakefuda, upon succeeding as head of the family business, undertook the design and production of the cotton furoshiki used as a complementary gift for the name-taking ceremony of Nakamura Kanzaburo XVIII, a famous kabuki actor. He was so impressed with the practicality and usefulness of the cotton furoshiki that the following year, he announced his newly designed line of cotton furoshiki with traditional Japanese patterns which is designed off the shelf for more casual use. Aligned with his new line, the store changed its name to Kyoto Kakefuda and created a special logo for the cotton furoshiki, whose design took inspiration from his family crest.

Now that most design and manufacturing is split between different companies, a specialty store that undertakes the whole process of design, pattern making, dyeing, cutting, finishing and retailing under one brand has become rare and treasured. Despite the store's long established history, Kakefuda is also flexible and open to new ideas, and is pioneering a new direction away from the other established stores reluctant to change.
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2007/6/7


南部藩陣屋跡 Nanbuhan-jinya-ato The Old Jinya of the Nanbu Domain

Jp En

The Old Jinya of the Nanbu domain is the ruins of a base camp located in Shiokubi-cho, Hakodate City, Hokkaido. It was constructed in 1799 by the Nanbu domain under the order of the Tokugawa Shogunate to reinforce the defenses of Hakodate. It was the main encampment that controlled sub-camps constructed in Muroran, Oshamanbe and Sunahara.

In 1821, when the Matsumae domain recovered its confiscated territory in Hokkaido, the base camps built by the Nanbu domain were dismantled. In 1855, when the Nanbu domain again received the order from the Shogunate to defend the areas in Hakodate including Cape Benten, they reconstructed their base camp. In 1868, with the advance of the soldiers who deserted the Tokugawa Shogunate, the Nanbu domain set fire on the base camps and abandoned the territories in Hokkaido.

The premise of the encampment was originally 16,200 sq m in area, but it was expanded to 36,000 sq m in the later eras. At the present time, only the stone walls and the monument erected by Iwate Nanbu Association remain in the ruins site.
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2007/6/4


旧下ヨイチ運上家 Kyuu-shimo-yoichi-unjouya Old Shimoyoichi Unjoya

Jp En

Old Shimoyoichi Unjoya in Yoichi Town in Hokkaido is a nationally designated Historic Site. Unjoya was a shop established at the center of a fish market by the merchants who contracted for selling fish for the Matsumae domain in the Edo period (1603-1868).

With the increase in the number of Wajin (ethnic Japanese), the contractors came to assume an official function as agents of the state and controlled fisheries by collecting a levy from fishers.

During the herring season, the unjoya was operated by the manager (shihainin) with the assistance of a bookkeeper (choba), an interpreter (tsuji) and overseers (bannin), who supervised Ainu labor. In the off-season in winter, only the observers stayed at the shop.

The system of contract fisheries was abolished when the Development Agency (Kaitakushi) was established by the Meiji government in 1869. The premises of unjoya were bought by the government and changed to accommodation facilities, meeting halls and police stations.

Old Shimoyoichi Unjoya is the only existing unjoya building, which was dismantled and restored according to the design drawing made at the time of its reconstruction in 1853.
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2007/5/31


高岡漆器 Takaoka-shikki Takaoka Lacquerware

Jp En

Takaoka lacquerware originated about four centuries ago in Takaoka, Toyama Prefecture. Takaoka lacquerware crystallises the wisdom and skills of this craft and is closely linked to the history of this area.

Takaoka lacquerware was first made in the early Edo period, when the head of the Kaga Domain, Maeda Toshinaga, built Takaoka Castle and needed the locals to lacquer weapons and daily commodities for him, such as drawers and trays with legs.

The local craft further developed when techniques for coloring lacquer, known as 'tsuishu' and 'tsuikoku', were imported from China. Other features of this craft are lacquering techniques that use ground powders ('sabi-e'), beautiful stones or iridescent shells to decorate surfaces with scenery, figures and patterns.

In the mid-Meiji period, another technique was established. Known as 'chokoku-nuri', it builds up various colored lacquers to give a three-dimensional sculptural effect that elegantly recalls the Kamakura period.

The mastery and skill of this craft were recognised in 1975, when Takaoka lacquerware was designated as a National Traditional Handicraft.
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銀杏返し Ichou-gaeshi Icho-gaeshi

Jp En

Icho-gaeshi was a hairstyle worn by Japanese women in the Edo period (1603-1868). The root of a pony tail is divided into two parts, each of which forms a sidewise 8 shape. The tips of the tail are wound around the root and fastened with a hairpin. As the fan shaped knot resembles the gingko leaf, it was called Icho-gaeshi (literally meaning “a turned-up gingko leaf”).

It was originally worn by young girls aged 12 to 20. Later as geisha and gidayu musicians began to wear their hair in this style, daughters of townspeople, who favored stylish fashion, began to follow their styles. In the Meiji period (1868-1912), it became popular among middle aged women, widows, geisha and entertainers. As it was easy to do up in this style and one did not have to go to a hairdressers’ shop, Icho-gaeshi was the most popular hairstyle up to the early Showa period (1926-1989).
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2007/5/25


アイヌ 樹皮衣 Ainu Juhi-i Ainu Bark-Fiber Cloth

Jp En

Ainu bark-fiber is a woven cloth used for the traditional garments and costumes of the Ainu people of Hokkaido. These garments are some of the most representative and familiar forms of clothing worn by the Ainu, and are known as 'atoshi' in Ainu dialect.

Bark fiber used in this fabric is taken from the inner bark of the Manchurian elm, then woven on a loom. As cotton was more highly valued by the Ainu then, garments were considered to be more valuable when cotton was woven into cloth along with bark fiber.

Among the Ainu, the Hokkaido Ainu were the principal users of this fabric. It was worn for daily use, and was mass exported to the main island of Japan in the late 18th century due to its excellent durability and detailed weaving. Today, this fabric is still woven all over Hokkaido as a traditional handicraft.
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