Japan Handmade

In mid-June of this year, we were honoured to welcome four Master Craftsmen from Kyoto, Japan. Each has honed their craft in very different disciplines. Intimate, hands-on workshops showcasing each craft were offered to lucky participants who gained insight into the intricacies, as well as, the greater principles centred around craft in Japan.



Taka, who made a solo visit to us last year, has been creating beautifully crafted tea caddies for his family business, Kaikado. Kaikado was established in 1875, shortly after Japan opened its doors to the rest of the world. With new global influences came the import of tinplate from England. Tin was used for the plating of steel, and was considered a fashionable foreign-made item. In the Edo era, canisters made from tin were a commonplace means of storage for tea; it was the company’s founder, Kiyosuke, who first designed the tin tea caddy and made it into a commercially available item.



Shuji’s family has been creating wooden objects in Japan for centuries under their family brand. Nakagawa Mokkougei represents the fine tradition of Kyoto woodcrafting where time-honoured skills are passed on from father to son. The company is best known for producing traditional Japanese buckets, called ki-oke, using a method that goes back some 700 years.



Toru has brought new life to his family’s wire weaving business. Though he was reluctant in his early years to follow in his father’s footsteps, he has been a driving force in developing modern designs for the business for the past 16 years and his passion for the craft is very apparent. It is said that the history of wire netting ware, or “Kanaami”, in Kyoto goes back more than one-thousand years. Used as kitchen utensils in Kyoto cuisine, these tools have been cherished by chefs in the city through the ages.



Tatsu’s family has long made decorative bamboo baskets. Since their establishment in 1898, “creating bamboo crafts to enrich lives” has been their corporate philosophy. While protecting tradition, their theme is “to combine the classic and the modern” and to propose new styles of bamboo craft. Tatsu brought to us and shared his deep understanding of the delicate art of ikebana.



Much to our delight, the Masters also spoke to an audience in our showroom. Watch the talk above.