NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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木部弘 Hiroshi Kibe Hiroshi Kibe

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Hiroshi Kibe is a craftsman of Edo karakami, and was born in 1931 in Asakusabashi, Tokyo.

'Karakami' means Chinese paper; 'kara' is the old Japanese name for China and 'kami' means paper. In the mid-Heian period, people started to make paper using Chinese methods. By the Edo period, Edo karakami was a well-established paper craft which used used many decorative techniques, such as stencilling, stripe-printing and dusting with powder dyes.

In 1950, Hiroshi succeeded to his father's business, and became involved in karakami printing. His karakami of colorful birds or people in 'sarasa' patterns are especially beautiful and are used for sliding doors.

Hiroshi says, 'No one will be either a master or a failure at this work. The important things are to work carefully and to think of who will be using the final product. Sliding doors involve completing a set of several doors, so I make efforts to ensure that each door is finished in the same way and is tasteful.'

Hiroshi was designated as a Tokyo Traditional Craftsman. In 1997, he was also designated as a Traditional Craftsman of Katsushika-ku.
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