Toshiro Uchida is a silver craftsman from Tokyo and was born in 1925 in Daito-ku, Tokyo.
Silver is highly valued because of its beautiful surface and other unique qualities. Now, 90% of silverware in Japan is produced in Tokyo.
Tokyo silverware is tasteful and bright and is made using techniques developed in the Edo period, such as hammering and fine engraving. One technique is known as 'kiribame': a design is cut out of the silver and another metal, like copper, is soldered into the space.
Toshiro learned hammering from his father, Uzaburo, in 1946, and kiribame from Tomoe Ogawa. Toshiro is particularly good at kiribame.
In 1984, Toshiro was designated as a Tokyo Silverware Traditional Craftsman by the Ministry of International Trade and Industry. In 1988, he was also designated as a Tokyo Traditional Craftsman. In the same year, he was awarded a prize and designated as a Tokyo Excellent Artist.
Izumozaki Town in Niigata Prefecture was under direct Tokugawa supervision as “tenryo (Tokugawa Shogunate landholdings)” during the Edo period (1603-1868). It was a prosperous town as the landing port of gold that was mined from Sado Island as well as the traffic center of the Hokkoku Kaido Road that connected Edo and Sado Island.
Tenryo Festival held in October every year in Izumozaki is a gorgeous festival redolent of the prosperity of the town in the old times. A variety of events including the stall food court are held in the area of streets temporarily closed to vehicular traffic. The old houses in tsumairi-style (with an entrance in a gable end) typical to the Edo-period townscape in this area are preserved in a good state in this area.
The main event of the festival is a reenactment of a procession of “Junkenshi (representatives of the Shogun).” On the way of the procession, Junkenshi inspect the disembarkation of gold and silver that was brought from Sado Island and bringing the load into the storehouse and they set off for Edo via Hokkoku Kaido Road on the next day to bring it back to the Shogun.
Technology in Japan allows for the production of the world’s thinnest gold foil. It is so advanced that gold alloy the size of a ten-yen coin can be stretched to the size of one tatami (traditional Japanese flooring: approximately 1.6562 m2). The technology for creating foil is no longer limited to just gold, but to all kinds of metals, which allows for a wider variety of colors as well. The ring above is made of acrylic fiber, foiled with sterling silver. The integration of the foil’s thinness with the absolute clarity of the acrylic fiber results in a ring that has ice-like characteristics, it being light, airy and translucent. The thinly stretched silver foil gives this ring the appropriate hard texture and feel that sterling silver should have.
-Sterling silver-foil finish
Design: Masako Saka (acrylic)
Produced by: Ubushina,Yudai Tachikawa
In 2005, at a department-store event sponsored by Dunhill, an established English brand, urushi (Japanese lacquer) was adopted as the wall material.
Urushi lacquer gives a temporary space a very luxurious finish, but the Dunhill creative team wanted to create a mysterious space like a black hole; the smooth and elegant appearance, which only urushi can express, drew the attention of passers-by. This was the most important reason why they decided to use urushi.
The surface of the urushi wall is also decorated with lines of silver foil. The contrast between ebony and silver produces a modern touch.
Ubushima produced the urushi area of the event space. It took them about half a year considering the project from many angles, to inspect and solve the task of using urushi in a public space. This event makes us understand and learn about some of the special qualities of urushi and take new steps with the material.
■Dunhill event space
*acrylic black lacquer
*designed by Kenichi Otani
■produced by Ubushina, Yudai Tachikawa
Gold foil, which is pure gold, is mixed with small amounts of silver or copper, so its color may change through years.
The square corners of the photo are where water vapor from the hot springs has bubbled over and they are continuously exposed to water. Moreover, because some of the water comes from the ‘natural hot spring’, the material is corroded easily. So, gold foil was applied to the back of the acrylic board to protect the surface.
You cannot find any spot of attachment glue on the gold foil.
Even though the foil is exposed to water, it has a beautiful gloss.
Seen from the lobby of the hotel, it seems as if a hot spring were bubbling up from a gold ingot.
■ Dormy Inn Kanazawa courtyard
* gold foil applied to the back of clear acrylic board with silicon coating
*size w55×d55×h45 cm
*designed by n.o.a
■produced by Ubushina, Yudai Tachikawa
Karabitsu Kofun located in Kawanishi-cho, Shobara City, Hiroshima Prefecture is a keyhole kofun (Imperial tomb) with a square front and round back. It was designated as a Historic Site by the prefecture in 1993 because it is a very rare kofun in that it is a relatively large kofun in this area and that it has a stone chamber dug into the side of the wall.
This is the 8th largest kofun in the city. The width of the front part is 14.4 m, the diameter of the back part is 28.8 m and the total length is 41.4 m. The stone chamber, 2.4 m wide, 13.1 m deep and 2.6 m high, is the largest in the northern part of Hiroshima Prefecture.
A lot of historically valuable articles supposedly made in the late Kofun period (the late 6th to the 7th centuries) have been excavated from the chamber including Sueki pottery, earrings and, an iron harness, an elaborately worked gold-coated large copper bell and a silver gardenia-shaped Utsuro-dama (hollow bead), which is the first archeological find of this kind in the areas except the Kinki region.
The Yoshitaki Waterfall is a unique waterfall located in Kami-cho, Hyogo Pref. It is a famous beauty spot in the area. This 28-meter high waterfall consists of two parts; the upper part with a height of 23 m, while the lower part with 5 m. Small waterfalls called Kin (gold) Waterfall and Gin (silver) Waterfall flow down on either side of the main waterfall. There is a shrine named Yoshitaki Shrine in back of the basin. If you go up along the approach to the shrine, you can see the waterfall from the backside, from which the waterfall is also called “Urami no Taki (meaning a waterfall seen from the backside).” Behind the waterfall, the splashes of water look very cool. Dark green leaves of cedar and chestnut trees leaning over the waterfall and moss-covered large rocks along the mountain stream, all create a beautiful landscape. A lot of visitors come to enjoy forest bathing.
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.