NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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齋藤明(人間国宝) Saitou Akira Akira Saito (Living National Treasure)

Jp En

Akira Saito was born in 1920. In 1993, he was designated as a Living National Treasure for his 'chukin' work, an intangible cultural heritage. Chukin is a form of metal casting using molds and the lost-wax (or cire-perdue) technique.

Saito lost his father when he was a teenager and, to feed the family, he took over his father's atelier and fumbled along with the technique, finding his way. He lost everything during wartime, yet luckily he met a former teacher and cultivated his skills.

His motto is to create a piece that is 'simple but as broad as the universe'. He found his own method called 'fuki-wake' which uses two types of metals. He is over 80 now, but he is still making powerful and vigorous pieces.
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鉄瓶 Tetsubin Iron Kettles

Jp En

Iron kettle-making is one of Japan's major traditional handicrafts. To make an iron kettle, metal is melted at a temperature of over 1500℃ and poured into molds in a technique known as 'fuki', which takes many years to learn.

This traditional technique has been passed down over the ages, and products are still being made by hand. The 'nanbu iron kettle', made in Morioka, Iwate prefecture, is famous in Japan.

In fact, recently there has been a small boom in iron kettles. Mankind today is said to be deficient in iron. It is said that one in five people suffers from anemia or semi-anemia. Water boiled in iron kettles carries enough iron to effectively replace any deficiency in iron. Connoisseurs can tell the difference between tea or coffee made with or without water boiled in an iron kettle. The taste of hot water boiled in an iron kettle is highly valued even abroad.
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"Nippon-kichi" leads you to places, people and things that reveal a certain Japanese aesthetic.

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