Japan Atlas: Traditional Crafts 
Wajima Lacquar Ware

Location: Wajima City, Ishikawa Pref.

 Number of companies: 813

 Number of workers: 2,734



Original Lacquering Techniques that Provide Durability 

On the Noto Peninsula in Ishikawa Prefecture, lacquerware has a 1000-year history, and a technique that is currently used dates back to some time between 1660 and 1670, when deposits of a mineral substance suitable for mixing with lacquer were discovered near Wajima. In the making of Wajima lacquerware, multiple coats of lacquer are applied, making the coating exceptionally tough, and such products have earned their reputation by withstanding the test of time. 

At the 800 workshops in Wajima City, located in the northern part of the Noto Peninsula, 3,000 people are engaged in handcrafting Wajima lacquerware, while in the city's high schools and vocational schools the successors to this heritage are being trained. The Ishikawa Prefecture Wajima Lacquer Arts Training Center, which is jointly run by Ishikawa Prefecture and the Agency for Cultural Affairs, provides expert training in Wajima lacquering techniques to people coming from all parts of the country. On display at the Ishikawa Prefecture Wajima Lacquerware Museum are items from Japan and overseas that demonstrate the artistry of lacquer. The museum also maintains an archive of overseas survey reports compiled by Wajima City and other documents about lacquering techniques and the characteristics of different lacquers. 

Photos: (Top) Products of Wajima Lacquer Ware (a sideboard, a boxed set of tea ceremony,and a set of bowls); (middle from left) an artisan applies gold lacquer on a bowl; Young apprenticed artisans are studying hard to inherit traditional techniques. (Wajima Shikki Shokogyo Kyodo Kumiai).

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