NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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紫雲石硯 Shiunseki-suzuri Shiunseki Inkstone

Jp En

Shiunseki  Suzuri or Shiunseki Inkstone is an inkstone produced in Ichinoseki City and Oofunado City of Iwate Prefecture  and is made from stone called Shiunseki that has a distinctive texture.
The origin of the inkstone dates back to Kamakura period when a monk who, on his travels, dropped by Chouan-ji Temple in Oofunado City and found a shiunseki stone at the bottom of a nearby river and used the stone as an inkstone. The monk later took the stone back to Kamakura and dedicated it to a Shogun at that time. With its beautiful looks, the inkstone was named Shiunseki (purple cloud) Inkstone.
Shiunseki stone is a schalstein extracted from soil more than 400 million years old from Kitakami mountain. The stone has a red-purplish color similar to azuki red beans. Also many of them have characteristic cloud-shaped patterns or greenish spots.
In addition to elegance and smoothness, the surface of the stone has fine and minute imperfections that allow ink-cake to be ground finely. These characteristics make Shiunseki stone the most suitable stone for inkstone.  
There was a time when mass production of machine made inkstone was widespread and handmade Shiunseki Inkstone making waned. However, after World War II, artisans began turning their attention back to the craft of hand making the stone. Shiunseki Inkstone is still now being produced with the same quality as its legend suggests.
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鈴鹿墨 Suzuka-zumi Suzuka Sumi Ink

Jp En

Suzuka sumi ink is a refined ink made from pine wood from the mountains of Suzuka. This ink is said to have originated in the early Heian period, when ink began to be made by mixing lamp black extracted from burnt pine wood with glue made from animal and fish skin.

Production of sumi ink increased during the Edo period due to increased demand. The prevalence of the use of seals by feudal lords and the dissemination of temple schools meant that many more people required ink. Some ink-producing stores even came to be economically protected by local feudal lords in exchange for a guarantee of a stable supply.

The Suzuka sumi ink mills have excellent conditions for ink-making, such as location and climate. Therefore, from the beginning of extraction, the ink is of a very good color, while the production process gives it further important characteristics, such as the balance of bleeding on contact with paper. Even now, many varieties of ink such as lamp-black ink, blue ink, and pine ink are made using traditional skills and methods like 'kata-ire-seikei'.

Suzuka sumi ink supplies some 30% of all sumi ink used in the country. The Ministry of International Trade and Industry designated Suzuka sumi ink as a Traditional Handicraft in 1980.
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