NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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増田三男(人間国宝) Masuda Mitsuo Mitsuo Masuda (Living National Treasure)

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Mitsuo Masuda was born in Saitama Prefecture on 24 April, 1909. In 1991, he was designated as an Important Intangible Cultural Property Holder (a Living National Treasure) for his 'chokin' work.

After graduating from the Sculpture Department of Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music, he was apprenticed to Kenkichi Tomimoto and began his creative career.

The term chokin encompasses several decorative techniques, including carving with chisels, piercing, metal inlay, and patterning in relief using hammers on metals.

Masuda works with silver, bronze, brass and other metals using two processes. First he forms the metal into shapes such as jars and boxes. He then adds designs with motifs of nature and seasons. His inlay work with thin sheets of gold and silver is especially highly praised.

As a teacher in Urawa High School, he asserted that 'talent is only one part – it is the endeavor that changes things'. In his work, as he claims, we can see his 70 years of 'principle' and 'effort'.
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"Nippon-kichi" leads you to places, people and things that reveal a certain Japanese aesthetic.

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