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What is a traditional craft?

Beyond the history of hundreds of years and thousands of years, products made by handmade using inherited technology are called "traditional crafts".

Currently in Japan, about 25,000 companies, totaling 140,000 craftsmen, make 1,200 "traditional crafts" products.

In such "traditional crafts" there are "traditional craft items" specially designated by Japan. "Traditional crafts items" will undergo review by ”the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry” based on goods, technology and historical materials, five stringent conditions such as having a history of over 100 years. It is specified based on "Law concerning the promotion of traditional craft industry".

There is also a national qualification given to craftmen called "traditional craftsmen" under the same law. "Traditional craftsmen" is required to strive to preserve the traditional crafts unique to each production area, to study the technology and techniques, and to convey that skill to future generations. Therefore, it is a qualification given only to craftworkers who cleared special tests, such as knowledge test, practical test, interview test, etc., involved in manufacturing "traditional crafts items" for over 12 years.

There are about 230 "traditional craft items" currently specially designated in Japan, and craftsmen keep on making things to inherit traditions on a daily basis.

Conditions of designation as "traditional craftwork items

1. It must be a craft product mainly used in daily life.
2. Of the manufacturing processes, the portion that greatly affects the characteristics of the product is mainly manual work.
3. It shall be manufactured by traditional techniques and techniques that have a history of over 100 years and continue to this day.
4. Principal raw materials have been continuously used for over 100 years in principle. 5. A business operator who manufactures the craft in a certain area keeps a certain scale and is established as a regional industry.

In this way, the nation designating and preserving traditional crafts by law is very rare, and Japan is focusing on inheriting the most traditional craft techniques and techniques in the world.

We will detail the history, technology and technique of such traditional crafts.
Let's touch Japanese manufacturing that has been inherited from ancient times.

  1. Woven textiles

    Nishijin brocade・Yuki tsumugi silk・Kurume traditional resist-dyed textiles・Ojiya chijimi textiles・Hakata brocade・Ushikubi tsumugi silk・Chichibu-meisen silk・Miyako hemp cloth・Shiozawa tsumugi silk・Kumejima tsumugi silk

  2. Dyed textiles

    Kaga textiles・Kyo textiles Kyo yuzen・Tokyo fine-patterned dyeing Tokyo some komon・Nagoya textiles Nagoya yuzen・Kyo-komon textiles Kyo komon・Arimatsu tie-dyeing Arimatsu narumi shibori・Ryukyu traditional textiles Ryukyu bingata・Tokyo textiles Tokyo tegaki yuzen・Kyo dyed textiles Kyo kanoko shibori・Nagoya kimono-dyeing Nagoya kuromontsuki zome

  3. Other textiles

    Kyo braided cords・Iga braided cords・Kyo embroidery・Kaga embroidery

  4. Ceramic

    Imari ware/Arita ware・Hasami ware・Kutani ware・Mashiko ware・Shigaraki ware・Bizen ware・Hagi ware・Koishiwara ware・Mino ware・Tobe ware

  5. Lacquerware

    Wajima lacquerware・Kamakura-bori lacquerware・Tsugaru lacquerware・Aizu lacquerware・Yamanaka lacquerware・Kawatsura lacquerware・Echizen lacquerware・Joboji lacquerware・Kiso lacquerware・Hidehira lacquerware

  6. Wood crafts

    Akita cedar sake pail & barrel・Edo woodworks & joinery・Hakone wood mosaic・Ichii woodcarvings ・Inami wood carvings・Kaba cherrybark wood crafts・Kyo woodworks & joinery・Matsumoto furniture・Miyajima wood crafts・Miyakonojo archery bows

  7. bamboo crafts

    Beppu bamboo crafts・Edo bamboo fishing rods・Katsuyama bamboo crafts・Kishu bamboo fishing rods・Osaka bamboo screens・Suruga bamboo crafts

  8. Chest of drawers

    Echizen traditional chest・Iwayado traditional chest・Kamo traditional chest・Kasukabe traditional paulownia chest・Kishu traditional chest・Nagoya traditional paulownia chest・Osaka-senshu traditional paulownia chest・Sendai traditional chest

  9. Metal works

    Higo inlays・Osaka-naniwa tinware・Takaoka copperware・Tokyo antimony craft・Tokyo silverware・Tsubame-tsuiki copperware・Yamagata cast iron

  10. Cutlery

    Banshu-miki cutlery・Echigo-sanjo cutlery・Echigo-yoita cutlery・Echizen cutlery・Sakai cutlery・Shinshu cutlery・Tosa cutlery

  11. Household Buddhist altars

    Hikone Buddhist altar・Hiroshima Buddhist altar・Iiyama Buddhist altar・Kanazawa Buddhist altar・Kawanabe Buddhist altar・Kyo Buddhist altar・Kyo Buddhist altar equipment・Mikawa Buddhist altar・Nagaoka Buddhist altar・Nagoya Buddhist altar

  12. Traditional Japanese paper

    Awa traditional Japanese paper・Echizen traditional Japanese paper・Echu traditional Japanese paper・Inshu traditional Japanese paper・Mino traditional Japanese paper・Ozu traditional Japanese paper・Sekishu traditional Japanese paper・Tosa traditional Japanese paper・Uchiyama Japanese paper

  13. Writing tools

    Akama inkstones・Banshu abacus・Kawajiri brushes・Kumano brushes・Nara brushes・Ogatsu inkstones・Suzuka inksticks・Toyohashi brushes・Unshu abacus

  14. Dolls, kokeshi

    Edo-kimekomi doll・Edo-sekku doll・Hakata doll・Iwatsuki doll・Kyo doll・Miyagi kokeshi doll・Suruga doll accessories・Suruga-hina doll

  15. Other crafts

    Japanese candles・Raden・Tatami・Samurai armor・Koshu lacquered deer leather・Tendo Japanese chess pieces・Edo patterned paper・Kyoji

  16. Industrial art materials and tools

    Ise paper stencil printing・Kanazawa gold leaves・Shogawa woodcraft

  17. Glass

    Edo glass・Edo kiriko cut glass・Satsuma kiriko cut glass・Ryukyu glass・Tsugaru Vidro

  18. Folding fan

    Boshu uchiwa fans・Kyo folding fans Kyo sensu・Kyo uchiwa fans Kyo uchiwa・Marugame uchiwa fans Marugame uchiwa

  19. Lantern

    Yamaga lanterns・Yame lanters