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11 Konoha-zaru/Konohazaru kamamoto

Simple local toys made by handHanding down the skills passed down from our ancestors to the next generation. Konoha-zaru/Konohazaru kamamoto Konoha-zaru, or Konoha monkeys, are simple toys made of unglazed clay in the Konoha area of Gyokuto Town. We interviewed  Mr. Reizou Nagata of the Konoha-zaru Kiln. Reizo Nagata Born in 1937.He studied under his father, Takeji, from the age of 20, and became the seventh generation. His daughter, Sae Kawamata, is the eighth generation of the family to work with him. [outline] A Unique Toy Born from a Legend It is said that the “Konoha-monkey” was born from a […]

10 Senko-hanabi / Tsutsui Tokimasa gangu hanabi seizojo

Traditional sparklers made of straw“Preserving Tradition with Innovative Ideas” Senko-hanabi / Tsutsui Tokimasa gangu hanabi seizojo In Japan, there is a custom to enjoy handheld fireworks at home in the summer. The most well-known handheld fireworks are sparklers. Sparklers are said to have a history of about 400 years. Tsutsui Tokimasa gangu hanabiseizojo, located in Miyama City, Fukuoka Prefecture, produces two types of sparklers made of straw and Japanese paper. We interviewed Ryota Tsutsui, the third generation owner. Ryota Tsutsui Born in Fukuoka in 1973. He is the third generation of the "Tsutsui Tokimasa gangu hanabi seizojo". After working as […]

09 Obake no Kinta (Ghost Kinta) / Atsuga Ningyoten

Humorous Karakuri dolls“We will continue to make them in order to pass on Japanese culture.” Obake no Kinta (Ghost Kinta) / Atsuga Ningyoten “Obake no Kinta” is a karakuri doll born in the Edo period. It has black formal headwear for court nobles and a red face. It is characterized by its humorous movements, such as its  tongue sticking out when the string is pulled, and its eyeballs flipping back. We interviewed  Mr. Shinhachiro Atsuga of the Atsuga Ningyoten. Shinhachiro Atsuga Born in Kumamoto City in 1943, he became a doll maker in 1963, learning from his father. He is […]

08 Shodai ware / Takemiya Kiln

Pottery with a strong, simple taste“Incorporating newness into tradition to create easy-to-use, beautiful vessels.” Shodai ware / Takemiya Kiln Shodai ware is a type of pottery that has been produced in the northern part of Kumamoto Prefecture for about 400 years. We interviewed Shinji Chikashige who is the owner of Takemiya Kiln in Shodai ware. Shinji Chikashige Third generation of Takemiya Kiln, Shodai ware. Born in Kumamoto Prefecture in 1954, he began his career in ceramics at the age of 22. [outline] Developed as a kiln for the clan Shodai ware is said to have originated in 1632, when potters […]

07 Akazake・Refined sake / ZUIYO

Kumamoto’s traditional Akazake and refined sake“continuing to take on new challenges and preserve the culture of sake brewing” Akazake・Refined sake / ZUIYO In Kumamoto, people drink “Akazake” as a new year’s special kind of rice wine. ZUIYO was one of the first refined sake breweries in Kumamoto to start producing refined sake as well as continuing to make Akazake. We interviewed Mr.Kentaro Yoshimura, Director. Kentaro Yoshimura Director of ZUIYO Corporation. Born in Kumamoto City, Kumamoto Prefecture in 1972. After graduating from university, he worked for a company before joining ZUIYO Corporation, where he was assigned to the Tokyo branch of […]

06 Wagashi / Kashou Tateyama

Tasting seasonal wagashi  with the five senses “If you continue for 10 years,  you will be able to make skill your own” Wagashi / Kashou Tateyama Wagashi is a food culture born from the history and traditions of Japan. We interviewed Mr. Manabu Tateyama of “Kashou Tateyama” who runs a Japanese confectionery store in Kawashiri, Kumamoto City, which has flourished as a town of craftsmen since the old days. Manabu Tateyama Born in 1951, he is the owner of "Kashou Tateyama". After graduating from high school and working in Tokyo, he took over the family business. He is a member […]

05 Nankan somen / Saruwatari Seimenjo

Hand-stretched somen noodles like thread “I want to make Nankan Somen and Nankan Town more exciting.” Nankan somen / Saruwatari Seimenjo Nankan Somen is made in Nankan Town in the northwestern part of Kumamoto Prefecture. It is said to have a history of 250 or 300 years, and in the Edo period, it was offered by the clan to the shogunate. We interviewed Mr. Shunsuke Kanasaka who is a president of Saruwatari Seimenjo. Shunsuke Kanasaka Born in Fukuoka Prefecture in 1983. Worked at a hotel and an Italian restaurant, and at a soba restaurant. Learned how to make Nankan Somen […]

04 Soy sauce Hashimoto Shoyu Inc.

Soy sauce born in the castle town of Kumamoto“We keep changing to preserve the traditional taste.” Soy sauce/Hashimoto Shoyu Inc. We interviewed Mr. Yasutaka Hashimoto, the fifth generation of Hashimoto Shoyu, which was established in Shinmachi, a castle town in Kumamoto, and has been making soy sauce and miso for traditional Japanese restaurants for many years. Yasutaka Hashimoto Born in 1983. Fifth generation of Hashimoto Shoyu Inc.. After graduating from university, he worked for a food wholesale company before joining Hashimoto Shoyu Inc.. Spent about six months as a research student in the Department of Brewing at Tokyo University of […]

03 Yamaga lanterns Nakamura seisakujo

Delicate handicrafts created from Japanese paper and glue“I want to create products that match the times and pass them on to the next generation.” Yamaga lanterns / Nakamura seisakujo Yamaga lanterns, also called Yamaga-toro, are created using only washi paper and glue to create a three-dimensional shape.The Yamaga Lantern Festival takes place every year in August in Yamaga City. During the festival, women wear these paper-made imitation gold lanterns on their heads and dance.We interviewed Mr. Junya Nakamura, an active lantern craftsman. Junya Nakamura Born in Yamaga City,Kumamoto Prefecture in 1989. After graduating high school, After working for the Yamaga […]

02 Kutami Shibu Uchiwa Kurikawa Shouten

Durable fan that can last 100 years”I want to bring  Japanese Fans (Uchiwa) to the world.”  Kutami Shibu Uchiwa / Kurikawa Shouten The “Kutami Shibu Uchiwa” has been made in Kutami, Kamoto Town in northern Kumamoto Prefecture. In Kurikawa Shouten offers products that fit today’s lifestyle while preserving traditional methods. We interviewed Ryoichi Kurikawa, fourth generation of Kurikawa Shouten. Ryoichi Kurikawa Fourth generation of Kurikawa Shouten LTD.Co. Born in Yamaga City,Kumamoto prefecture. After graduating from University, he joined Kurikawa Shouten. He is developing new products while preserving the tradition of Shibu Uchiwa. [outline] Crafts made from bamboo and paper “Kurikawa […]