Lacquerware Artisans in Quake-Hit Wajima Get a Fresh Start with Donated Tools; People All Over Japan Come Together To Help Wajima Artisans

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Tools for making Wajima-nuri lacquerware are distributed to craftsmen at Juzo-jinja shrine in Wajima, Ishikawa Prefecture, on Saturday.

WAJIMA, Ishikawa ― Tools donated from all over Japan were presented to Wajima-nuri lacquerware artisans, who were impacted by the Noto Peninsula Earthquake, at an event on Saturday in Wajima, Ishikawa Prefecture.

The artisans were given the donated tools, which included paddles and brushes, so that they can get back to producing lacquerware and restart their businesses.

Yoshio Sakai, 43, a woodturner from Sabae, Fukui Prefecture, who specializes in Echizen-shikki lacquerware — a specialty of Fukui Prefecture — organized the donation event.

Sakai said, “Wajima-nuri is one of our rival products, but I wanted to whatever I could as a fellow artisan.”

Just after the Jan. 1 earthquake, Sakai posted on social media asking for donations of lacquerware tools. People from all over Japan offered hundreds of tools in response to his request.

About 20 Wajima-nuri artisans attended the event, which was held at Juzo-jinja Shrine.

Rikiho Takada, 74, who lost all his tools in a large-scale fire following the earthquake, received urushi lacquer and stands. He said: “These help me so much. I want to get back to work, even if it’s just a little.”

Sakai said, “I hope these tools encourage artisans to return to Wajima and resume their work.”

If more tools are donated, the event will continue to be held in April and thereafter.