Coming first from China, the abacus was brought to Otsu from Nagasaki toward the end of the Muromachi period (1392-1573). It was during the following Momoyama period (1573-1600), when Toyotomi Hideyoshi sieged Miki castle, that the people of this small castle town fled to nearby Otsu, where some learned how to make the abacus. When they finally returned to their homeland, they began making what became the Banshu Soroban.
Matsumoto Kagu developed from one of the trades set up around the time that Matsumoto in present-day Nagano Prefecture became a castle town in the latter half of the 16th century. It was not until the end of the Edo period (1600-1868), however, that the production of household furniture actually began.
The origins of this craft date back to the beginning of the 17th century and the traditional woodworking skills that can be seen at Osaka's Hijiri Shrine and Shiteno-ji temple. Gradually during the 18th century, transoms were mainly introduced into merchant's houses not only for practical reasons of ventilation and lighting but also as a decorative element capable of raising the quality of interior space, especially in rooms where guest would be received.
Seto Underglazed Ware
At the beginning of the 19th century, local people returned from Kyushu armed with the techniques for firing porcelain and a way of applying decorations using a soft Southern Sung Dynasty style of painting with great charm that they had learned from a specialist painter.
Echizen Yaki ranks among Japan's six old kilns and therefore has a history dating back many centuries. First fired toward the end of the Heian period (794-1185), upward of 200 old kilns sites have been discovered in the area to date. It was in these massive old kilns that all manner of everyday articles such as pots, jars, mortars, flasks, and jars in which to keep a black tooth dye fashionable at the time were fired.
Osaka Kongo Bamboo Blinds
The making of bamboo blinds goes right back to before the Heian period (794-1185). Blinds of this kind were first used as a screen inside the Imperial palace and the residences of noblemen, and became the model for blinds which are still used in traditional reception rooms today.
When the head of the Tokushima fief ordained that porcelain in the style of Nanking and Karatsu Yaki should be produced in 1780, craftsman were brought in from the island of Kyushu, a kiln was built and production began.
Koshu Lacquered Deerhide
Deerhide craft products were being made in the area centered on the city of Kofu in present-day Yamanashi Prefecture during the 19th century. By the end of the same century, it is known that deerhide draw-string money bags and purses were well known among people at large as reference is made to them in Tokaidochu Hizakurige, a humorous book published in the 19th century.
Suruga Hina Doll Fittings
Paraphernalia for the Hina Matsuri or doll festival was already being produced in Suruga in the 16th century when Imagawa was feudal lord of this province that corresponds to present-day Shizuoka Prefecture. With the construction of Kunosan Toshogu shrine and the Asama Shrine, many advanced craft techniques were introduced from all over the country and the production of Hina paraphernalia developed as part of the lacquer ware industry which, benefiting from the warm humid climate of the area, became established during the Edo period (1600 -1868).
Toyohashi is situated at the center of the area which was once ruled by the Yoshida clan. Toward the end of the 18th century, the leader of the clan brought in Suzuki Jinzaemon from Kyoto, and he began making brushes for the clan. Gradually lower ranking samurai started this work and this marked the true beginnings of the craft in Toyohashi.
Although disputed, it seems likely that Karatsu Yaki was being made in this area even before the 1592 campaigns to Korea. The name is abbreviated from a ware made in the area of Matsuura where there were a number of kilns producing Taku kokaratsu, Hirado kokaratsu, and Takeo kokaratsu. It was, however, the ware from the Matsuura kokaratsu kiln that finally gave its name to this particular style of pottery.
Satsuma was one of the old provinces occupying what is now the western part of Kagoshima Prefecture at the southern end of Kyushu. Forces from Satsuma invaded Ryukyu in 1609 and the compulsory weaving of Yaeyama Jofu to pay a poll tax that was levied, in turn led to an improvement of techniques.