Update : January 29, 2019

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Kagoshima Craftwork


|Authentic Oshima Tsumugi Silk Fabric | Kawanabe Buddhist Altars | Satsuma Kiriko Cut Glass | Tin Ware | Satsuma-yaki PotterySake Set (Flasks and Cups to serve Sake) | Bamboo Products | Satsuma Boxwood Combs | Japanese Samurai Armor | Blades and Razor Tools | Tane-basami Scissors | Yaku Cedar Products | Traditional Local Toys |


Authentic Oshima Tsumugi Silk Fabric

TheOshima Tsumugi silk is meticulously produced by hand hand-woventhrough a process with more than thirty steps.
With a dyeing method derived from Japan’s oldest dyeing technique, thisbeautifully colored woven fabric’s unique mud-dyeing technique and ikatpatterns are its distinctive features.

Kawanabe Buddhist Altars

Kawanabe Town in Minami Kyushu City has long since had a close relationship with Buddhism as seen in the Buddhist images carved on stone walls, and the hidden Nenbutsu or Buddhist invocation.
The Buddhist altars made in this area are critically acclaimed for their splendor and durability. The seven steps of woodwork,engraving, altar, metalwork, lacquering, painting, and finishing touches, aredone almost entirely by hand.

Satsuma Kiriko Cut Glass

Chineseoverlaying colored glass techniques were fusedwith European glass cutting methods to produce this delicate and graceful cutglass masterpiece.
Developedby the 28th lord of Satsuma, Shimadzu Nariakira,the technique faded out with his death for a period. However, more than ahundred years later, the mysterious and beautiful sparkle was revived and cameto be known nation-wide as a representative craftwork of Kagoshima.

Tin Ware

In1655, tin wasdiscovered in the suburbs of Kagoshima City. As the value of tin was on parwith that of gold and silver at the time, it was an important financialresource for the Satsuma Domain.
As lifestyles changed after World War Two, demand waned, but its use has become popular again thanks to a specialfinishing technique called pear-skin finish and its soft luster and weighty feeling.

Satsuma-yaki Pottery

Refinedand graceful White Satsuma, simple and warm Black Satsuma.
Thecrafting of Satsuma-yaki pottery ware beganmore than four hundred years ago, when Shimadzu Yoshihirobrought potters back with him from Korea.
There are kilns all over the prefecture, including Miyama, the original home of Satsuma-yaki pottery, as well asKagoshima, Ibusuki, Kajiki, and Kirishima.

Sake Set (Flasks and Cups to serve Sake)

InKagoshima, the kingdom of "authentic shochu liquor", there are many Satsumapottery vessels for holdingshochu liquor such as the Kuro-joka earthen pot for direct heating, or the liquor bottlewith a spout known as Karakara. Among these vessels,Sorakyu has an especially unique shape. Due to its round bottom, when onedrinks from this cup, one has to finish all of the shochu before it can be set down. Sorakyu was namedafter the toast, and is a combination of "Sora", meaning"here", and "kyu" meaning "bottoms up."

Bamboo Products

Kagoshima,with the greatest area of bamboo forests in Japan, has a long historywith bamboo. Moso bamboo spread throughout the nation from Kagoshima, and ithas been used here since ancient times for making everyday items suchas baskets, sieves,and fishing tools.

Thistradition is kept alive in a number of locations around the prefecture wherebamboo is still used to make baskets, flower vases, rice wine caskets, pot hangers, chopsticks,screens, etc.

Satsuma Boxwood Combs

In themiddle of the Edo Period (1603-1868), when theSatsuma clan was engaged in the Kiso River embankment project, lower rankingsamurai of the clan began making boxwood combs to supplement their incomes. Thepopularity of these lovely combs can be seen in the lyrics of a contemporarysong: "I want to become acomb, a comb from Satsuma, and be held by women from many countries".The final step in the production process is natural drying after soaking incamellia oil.

Japanese Samurai Armor

Kagoshimawas the land of martialism and it was here that the production of armor and helmets once flourished until the MeijiRestoration when production ceased. In Satsumasendai Cityhowever, there is a company that manufactures and recreates traditional style armor with the intent of preserving this tradition.
This manufacturer is the leading manufacturer ofsamurai armor. Most of the armor usedon movie sets such as "Kagemusha", "Ran",or the TV series "Tenchijin" and"Furin Kazan" was produced by this company. Additionally, theirproducts are also used as ornaments for seasonal festivities and ashousewarming gifts.

Blades and Razor Tools

In the Edo Period (17thcentury), Satsuma Domain (the old name forKagoshima) was famous for its swords, such as the Naminohirablades. Even today, the Japanese sword making technique of applying soft iron oversteel is still being used to produce blades and razor tools such as sickles,kitchen knives, scissors, etc.

Tane-basami Scissors

In1543, a Portuguese ship introduced firearms to Japan. Also on this ship was aChinese scissors blacksmith, who introduced and taught the techniques of makingChinese scissors to sword smiths in Tanegashima Island.The blacksmith industry originally flourished in Tanegashima due to the richnatural iron content of the sand. At its peak, more than 100 craftsmen wereemployed there, and their products were sold all over Japan. Tane-basami handmade scissors are sharp and practical, supportedby the traditions and techniques that have improved over the years.

Yaku Cedar Products

Thenatural cedars of Yakushima Island are called "Yakusugi" only when they reach at least 1,000 years of age.
Although the soil on which cedars grow at 800m to 1,500m above sea levelis poor, they grow slowly but steadily thanks to the abundant rainfall. As such,their tree rings are densely packed, and a fine, gorgeous grain is distinctiveof Yakusugi products. Thanks to the abundant resin in the wood, the rich lusterand pleasant fragrance last forever.
Fallen and discarded Yakusugi trees that lay buried in the ground areeffectively utilized to make Yaku cedar products.
The fine grain can be enjoyed in a large variety of products such as decorativecabinets, tables, tea saucers, and trays.

Traditional Local Toys

Here in Kagoshima, there are many toys that bring back the warmth of traditional hand-made goods to our modern times. Pictured here is one of the traditional local toys found at the Kagoshima Shrine in Kirishima City, the "Tai-guruma" which is a pull along toy in the shape of a sea bream. This toy has its origins in the Umisachi-Yamasachi myth, in which Prince Yamasachi visited the palace of the Ocean God and removed a fishhook from the throat of a sea bream. Other popular toys include incense boxes and small drums.