NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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大野勇太郎 Oono Yuutarou Yuutarou Ohno

Jp En

Yuutaro Oono was born  in Tokyo in 1935. He is currently the CEO of Ohno Seimitsu Kogyo Co. Ltd.
     After graduating from Hokunoujima Technology High School, Mr. Oono was employed by an 8mm film company. In 1978, he started Ohno Seimitsu Kogyo Co. Ltd which specializes in making gears. He also dedicated himself to bringing back Karakuri dolls , which were popular in the Edo period, to modern times, using the advanced techniques of  modern  gear making.
     Mr. Oono first learned about Karakuri in an engineering book and he became passionately interested in them.  He had acquired a copy of “Karakuri-zui”, an illustrated compendium of mechanical devices written by Hanzou Hosokawa, a legendary karakuri artisan of the Edo period. Mr. Oono began studying the book intensely and, for the last 20 years, he has been reproducing the Karakuri dolls most loved by people in the Edo period such as “tea serving doll”, “shinan guruma” and the “Karakuri clock”.
     Each doll is made using about 80 different parts, not counting its face and clothing.  The dolls are created in such a way as to preserve traditional methods as much as possible. The fusion of the Edo period and modern times shows both beauty and functionality.
     Mr. Oono’s next project is to bring back “Yumihari Warawa, or “ Boy Archer”, which shows  a boy shooting an arrow at a target. His tremendous respect for  the Karakuri artists of the Edo period motivates him to try to recreate the Karakuri Dolls most beloved in that period, so that people can remember and appreciate their heritage.
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調べ緒 Shirabe-o Shirabeo

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Shirabeo, or formally called Shirabe, is a set of ropes used for Kotsuzumi (a small hand drum), Otsuzumi (a large hand drum) and Shime-daiko (a rope-tuned drum). Shirabeo does not only hold the drum heads in place but also tunes the pitch of drums. The pitch can be varied by squeezing the ropes with the left hand while striking the drum with the right. Shirabeo is an indispensable part of drums used in classical Japanese music such as Noh, Kabuki and Nagauta and folk music.

For a long time until around 1877, when a professional tuner came into existence, any durable strings on hand were used for tuning. Today, a code for Shirabeo is made of two Japanese linen ropes twisted each other, after which as many as 25 detailed processes are given. The rope used for Shirabeo must be elastic so that it comes back to its original place after being pulled by the player and at the same time it must be soft so that the player’s hand skins are not damaged after playing for a long time. Highly elaborate techniques and long experience are required to produce such ropes.
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静岡挽物 Shizuika-hikimono Shizuoka Turnery

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Shizuoka turnery is woodwork handed down in Shizuoka Pref. The turnery technique was first introduced to this area in 1864, when Yonekichi Sakai, a craftsman in this prefecture learned the technique from a turner in Hakone, Kanagawa Pref. and opened his own workshop in the town of Shimogoku in present-day Shizuoka City. After the World War II, pepper grinders were made in large quantity to export to the U.S.A. and the area grew into a major producing center of turnery products. Now, kitchen ware, stationery, toys, furniture parts, and construction fittings are made and used in various industries. Turnery is indispensable technique to create rounded surface in woodwork, so it has been an important local industry in the prefecture. Woodwork and bamboo products made by Shizuoka turnery are favored as people’s daily necessities.
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ひたち竹人形 Hitachi-take-ningyou Hitachi Bamboo Dolls

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Ibaraki Prefecture has long been famous for its bamboo, ever since the 2nd lord of the Mito Domain, Tokugawa Mitsukuni (Mito Komon), first began to protect and encourage their cultivation.

Hitachi bamboo dolls are handmade from high-quality bamboo such as Japanese timber bamboo, as well as 'moso', 'monchiku', 'kurochiku, 'toratake', 'susutake' and 'gomatake' bamboo.

These dolls are made from bamboo that has been naturally dried over 2~3 years and is oil-free. Each part of the doll is made from bamboo and pieced together using bamboo nails. Colors and patterns are then painted on the carved and sculpted surface of the bamboo.

Usually the dolls are based on figures in Noh and Kabuki drama and are very elaborate. There are also dolls that depict local characters, such as the Komon and Umemusume dolls. Lovely animal figures for each year of the Chinese zodiac are also carved from bamboo using the same technique as the dolls.
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札幌時計台 Sapporo-tokeidai Sapporo Clock Tower

Jp En

Sapporo Clock Tower was built in 1878, originally as an indoor practice area for military arts by the Sapporo Agricultural College.  At that time, it was called ‘the big clock of the agricultural college’.
The official name of the tower is the Old Sapporo Agricultural College Enbu-jou and it is one of the oldest existingclock towers in Japan. The clock has a system where the weight of the chimes power the clockworks.  Themain parts of the clock have never been replaced and have run continuously since they were installed.
The appearance of the big clock on the gabled  roof gives the structures an original and exotic appearance.
The entire two-storey building is made of wood,  except for the clock. Today, the first floor is an exhibition hall,and the second floor is a hall that can be rented for private functions. In the past, it was used as the main government building of Sapporo, as well as a court and  library.
The third to fifth floors house  the clock and its mechanisms. On the hour, the pure sounds of the clock chimes can be heard ringing out.
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