Ishikawa: Artisans of 2 Distinctive Traditional Crafts Collaborate for 1st Time

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Kaga Mayor Riku Miyamoto, center, along with the chairs of the association of Yamanaka lacquerware and Kutani porcelain, looks at prototypes of the newly corroborated brand in Kaga, Ishikawa Prefecture.

KAGA, Ishikawa — Craftspeople from Ishikawa Prefecture’s two major traditional artworks for the first time collaborated to make tableware sets of Yamanaka lacquerware and Kutani porcelain. They will be used for course dinners served at ryokan inns or fancy Japanese-style restaurants.

Veteran craftspeople and young designers have come up with prototypes of newly designed large sake cups, liquor sets and other items that are thought to complement the features of each traditional craft. The prototypes of about 50 items were recently presented to the Kaga City Office.

The associations of Yamanaka lacquerware and Kutani porcelain craftspeople have been developing the collaborative brand since April.

The aim is to develop about 100 items, which will be distributed to the city’s seven ryokan and restaurants in March to receive feedback before their planned commercial release in fiscal 2021. The project has received the city’s subsidy allocated to the development of a new field in the city’s traditional crafts.

The pandemic has caused a drop in Yamanaka lacquerware sales by 40% and has also affected the sales of Kutani porcelain drastically, according to the associations.

“It is important for Kutani porcelain and Yamanaka lacquerware to cooperate in the midst of the coronavirus,” Kaga Mayor Riku Miyamoto said. “We will protect our traditional crafts with the help of both the public and private sectors.”

The Yamanaka lacquerware association’s chair, Shunsuke Tanaka, said: “It will take time for the economy to recover, and the recovery in our industry is expected to take even longer. We must fully plan ahead.”

The Kutani porcelain association’s chair, Atsushi Yamamoto, said: “Craftspeople from our associations share the same intention to create and promote our products. The new brand will be one of the major moves that will help artists and craftspeople to survive.”