NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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2008/9/19


山口源兵衛 Yamaguchi Genbee Genbee Yamaguchi

Jp En


Genbee Yamaguchi is one of the most respected kimono makers. In 1981, he became the head of “Kondaya”, a long-established wholesale store of obi sashes that was founded in Kyoto in 1738.  As the tenth head of Kondaya, he devoted himself to advancing obi making.  His recent works, however, have been more involved in designing and making the whole kimono. He also takes an active role in revitalizing the dyeing and weaving technologies through such measures as the revival of Koishimaru - a specific type of silk worm cocoon found in Japan and the preservation of a unique village in the Philippines called “Dreamweaver”.  In 2003, Yamaguchi received the Japan Culture Award.  After successful collaborations with Kengo Sumi, an architect, and Hiroko Koshino, a designer, he released a new kimono line called Kabukimonotachi-no-keifu, in collaboration with UNITED ARROWS, a specialty retailer. It is an exciting and bold kimono collection for men.
Kabukimonotachi-no-keifu is inspired by the men of the Momoyam period (approximately 1568 to 1603) who loved to live a wild and flamboyant life-style. Japanese men in those days were respected as the toughest of the world.  Kabukimono is expressive of that type of man who pursued an extraordinary and “cool” life style.  The fashion of Kabukimonotachi-no-keifu evokes masculinity and the true “rock and roll” spirit of the time.
“If you keep on pursuing the basics, there will be a moment when you will suddenly see limitlessness revealed to you, as once Zeami (the greatest playwright of the Noh theater) said.   Mastering the basics is the shortest road to freedom”
The vital life force and sexiness in Yamaguchi’s designs come from the inner depth of his creative process.
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2008/3/4


薩摩つげ櫛 Satsuma-tsugegushi Satsuma Comb

Jp En

Satsuma Tsugegushi or Satsuma Comb is a general term for the comb made from a Satsuma box tree.
Ibusuki region of Kagoshima Prefecture, having a climate with high temperatures and high humidity, is known to produce high quality box trees.
Satsuma box tree, which is extremely detailed and hard, produces a comb that is difficult to break. The tree also has a natural yellowish surface and beautiful gloss, and has been much valued.
The origin of the comb is said to date back to when samurai warriors from Satsuma clan first started making it when they came back from Edo (now Tokyo) after finishing the flood prevention works at Kiso River in the middle of Edo period.
Since that time, comb making became widespread as a side job for samurai warriors in the lower classes, and the comb became well-known nationally for its high quality.
  In Ibusuki region, when a girl was born, a box tree was planted which grew up together with the girl. When she got married, a comb would be sent to take with her along with her other furniture.
   As the comb is used to brush hair with camellia oil for a longer period of time and it ages, the light yellowish surface of the comb glosses further and more finely. In addition, it combs one’s hair very smoothly and feels soft and gentle to the scalp. Also, it doesn’t create static electricity. With these characteristics, Satsuma comb is a fine product that is still highly sought after.
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2007/9/28


日野椀 Hino-wan Hino Lacquered Bowls

Jp En

Hino lacquer ware is a traditional handicraft in Hino-cho, Gamo-gun, Shiga Prefecture. The craft dates back to 1533, when Gamo Sadahide, the castellan of Hino Castle, planned to build a castle town. He assembled woodcraftsmen and lacquerers working at the foot of Mt. Watamuki and made them live in the specially arranged blocks of Nusi-machi (lacquerers’ town) and Kataji-machi (woodcraftsmen’s town), where the making of Hino lacquered bowls started.

As Sadahide’s grandson Ujisato was transferred to another place in 1584, the making of this craft declined for a short time. However, as Ohmi-Hino merchants were willing to sell Hino bowls as their staple merchandise, the production of Hino bowls started to grow again and its name came to be widely known. Most of the early products that are still existing today are vessels for ceremonial use. They are characterized by the heavy body and thick foot rim.

In 2001, efforts to revive this traditional craft started by volunteers in the town. They are now working on the production of lacquer ware that can be durable for daily use.
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