Kyoto Fine-Pattern Dyeing
Kyo Komon dates back more than 1,200 years, when the all-essential stencil papers were first made.
Kishu Herazao are fishing rods for catching crucian carp created by master rod craftsmen.
Kanazawa Household Buddhist Altars
It is possible to trace the origins of Kanazawa Butsudan back to the 17th century. What prompted their production was the sheer number of people who had been converted to the Jodo Shinshu in the Hokuriku region of Japan, after Rennyo-shonin, a Buddhist priest of the same order visited the area to spread the word.
The roots of this craft go back to Hayashi Matashichi. With the support of the local feudal lord Hosokawa and his family, Hayashi was doing inlaid metal work on firearms and sword guards during the first half of the 17th century. Subsequently, as this craft became established, fine Higo sword guards were produced by generation after generation of the Hayashi family as well as by other families such as the Hiratas, Nishigakis, Shimizus and Kamiyoshis right through the Edo period (1600-1868), and many pieces of their work are still in existence. When the carrying of swords was outlawed in 1876, the Higo craftsmen turned their hand to decorative work and began making everyday items in line with the new social conditions.
Recognized as one of the six old kilns or Rokkoyo in Japan, the origin of Shigaraki Yaki dates back to the making of roofing tiles for the Shigaraki palace by Emperor Shomu during the Tenpyo period beginning in 730.
Kyoto Buddhist Paraphernalia
It is conceivable that the various pieces of paraphernalia associated with Buddhism were first produced in Kyoto around the 8th century, when the monks Saichou and Kukai were exerting their influence on Heian Buddhism.
There are records confirming that a cotton cloth or minsaa which had originated in Afghanistan and had been brought to the Ryukyus from China was in use at the beginning of the 16th century at the Ryukyu court. It seems fairly certain, therefore, that minsaa was already being woven in the Yaeyama area about this time. The name minsaa is derived from min meaning cotton and saa meaning narrow band.
Large quantities of kaolin were discovered in the area during the 18th century. With the help of the local feudal lord, potters skilled in the making of porcelain from Arita in present-day Saga Prefecture were brought in to help, and the porcelain made in the castle town of Izushi marked the beginnings of this ware. Subsequently, the number of kilns increased in and around this castle town and a production center became established.
Tamba Tachikui Ware
Numbering among the six old kilns of Japan, Tamba Tachikui Yaki dates back to the end of the Heian period (794-1185). A ""hole kiln"" or anagama was used up until the Momoyama period (1573-1600) but then noborigama or ""climbing kilns"" came into use along with the kickwheel, which in this area is turned anti-clockwise. The noborigama and traditional techniques are still in use today.
At the end of the 16th century, the feudal lord of the Omura clan accompanied Toyotomi Hideyoshi on one of his campaigns to the Korean Peninsular. On his return he brought back some Korean potters with him and they began making pottery in Hasami.
Amakusa Pottery and Porcelain
In the old fief of Amakusa on the island of Kyushu, the village headmen encouraged the people throughout the fief to try and support themselves by making pottery and from the early 17th century and on into the 18th century, both pottery and porcelain were being produced in the province.
Situated on the extreme western boundary of Japan, records show that weaving on Yonaguni Island dates back some 500 years, and cloth was already being paid as a tax during the 1520s. During the difficult times after World War II, fishing nets were unraveled to provide yarn for this cloth, which is still woven by the women, who devote so much time producing this cloth that is very representative of the island's natural environment.