Suruga lacquer ware is characterized by the use of Makie. Makie is a decorative technique in which gold and silver powder is spread over the lacquered surface to create beautiful patterns. After spreading the powder, it is dried, applied raw lacquer to fix the powder, ground with charcoal, dried again through the process of suri-urushi (applying and wiping off lacquer again and again), and given a final grind to finish. The craft dates back to 1828, when Senzo Nakagawa, a lacquerer living in the Suruga region, acquired the skill of Makie and used it in his lacquering processes. In 1830, two Makie lacquerers, Tomekichi and Senjiro Kobayashi, came from Edo (present-day Tokyo) and taught their skills to the local craftsmen, which highly enhanced Makie techniques in this region. Suruga lacquer ware was one of the representative export products from the Meiji period (1868-1912) through the early Showa period (1926-1989), but after World War II, lacquer ware was considered as expensive luxury not suitable for daily use. Today, articles such as suzuribako (box for writing equipment), trays, fubako (letter box), flower vessels, geta (Japanese sandals), and accessories are being made.
Suruga lacquered wooden clogs are traditional handicraft products made in Shizuoka Pref. In the Edo period, Shizuoka developed as the center of the Tokaido Road, where things in fashion in every part of the country were quickly introduced and so were foot ware. Making of lacquered wooden clogs dates back to the early Meiji period (around 1878), when a craftsmen, Kyujiro Honma, started to coat wooden clogs with lacquer. In the Taisho period (1912-1926), some craftsmen engaged in Suruga lacquer ware turned over to wooden clog making and gave various contrivances in their techniques. After the World War II, the demand for wooden clogs declined and wooden clogs became the articles of taste. Today, expensive products such as the ones with Makie (sprinkling of gold and silver) or hand-carved decoration or lacquered ones are popular. Shizuoka Pref. is now the top producer of high quality lacquered wooden clogs. This crafts is a fruitage of a fine tradition and craftsmen’s painstaking contrivance.
Paulownia geta are Japanese wooden clogs made from expensive Aidu paulownia in Fukushima Prefecture.
Aidu domain traditionally encouraged people to plant paulownia. Aidu paulownia is highly valued because of its beautiful grain and strength, a result of the Aidu's uniquely severe climate.
Sticky and glossy, silvery white wood, beautiful straight grain, high-density, clear annual rings and hardness; these are Aidu paulownia's characteristics. Paulownia geta make the best use of Aidu paulownia. Straight-grained wood that is glossy and beautiful is said to be the best.
Paulownia is light and absorbent. The white grain is pleasant and the geta are comfortable to wear. The 'karan karan' sound of paulownia geta is also airy and fresh.
In 1997, the making of paulownia geta was designated as a Fukushima Traditional Handicraft.
Geta are one of Japan's traditional forms of footwear. Their origin dates back to the Nara or Heian periods. Especially after the Genroku period, when komageta were developed, and by the Edo period, they were being widely used.
In Edo, geta raised on two high struts ('ha'= teeth) were called ashida and those with low struts were geta. In Edo, geta for men were angular and those for women were roundish. In Kyoto or Osaka, high or low geta were called geta and had rounded shapes for either sex. In the Edo period, geta seem to have been tasteful footwear.
The thong to anchor the feet on geta is made from cloth: informal cloth, not formal.
For some time after the Meiji Restoration, geta were often worn with Western dress but, following the asphalting of roads, this form of footwear, along with Japanese cloth, lost their popularity.
In the last 10 years, both kimono and yukata have seen a revival in popularity, and so, too, have geta. Geta are currently changing in form, so that they are more comfortable to wear and do not hurt your feet.
Up to 60 percent of geta are produced in Matsunaga District, Fukuyama City, in Hiroshima prefecture.