Tosa Forged Blades
Records show that at the end of the 16th century there were some 400 smiths at work in Tosa. While they were skilled in the making of the samurai sword, they also seem to have made sickles and knives at the request of local farmers. Subsequently, with the promotion of forestry and the development of new fields in the area, bladed tools for agriculture and forestry were made in large quantities and a production center for forged goods came into being.
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.
It seems likely that the making of Fukuyama Koto started at the time of the erection of a castle at the beginning of the Edo period (1600-1868) in Fukuyama, which is now a city in Hiroshima Prefecture. Craft industries flourished in castle towns during the Edo period, and with encouragement from the feudal lord at the time, both accompanied and unaccompanied songs were very popular in Fukuyama.
In the middle of the 18th century, the local clan head felt that it would be possible to improve clan finances by producing porcelain using a locally found kaolin. Potters experienced in the making of porcelain from the region of present-day Nagasaki Prefecture were brought to the area and this marked the beginning of porcelain making in Tobe.
Takaoka Bronze Casting
Takaoka Doki dates back to the beginning of the Edo period (1600-1868), when the Maeda clan in Kaga invited seven highly skilled metal casters from a long established metal casting area to come and work at a newly opened workshop.
This craft began during the 18th century with the emergence of three kinds of skilled workers of precious metals. First there was the shirogane-shi, who fashioned articles that were then skillfully chased by masters of this technique; and then there were skilled metal workers who made such things as combs, hairpins (kanzashi) and the decorative metal fittings for the portable shrines or mikoshi.
Nagoya Household Buddhist Altars
Fostered by a strong belief in Buddhism, the making of these altars developed early in the area and even at the beginning of the Edo period, specialist stores dealing in home altars already existed. Skills were collectively honed by the groups of craftsmen that were created after wholesale groups were established and traditional methods and techniques were cultivated.
The distinctive Mashiko style of pottery developed sometime about the middle of the 19th century having come under the influence of Kasama Yaki. In the early days, everyday articles were made with the support of the local clan and many of the pieces found their way into the kitchens of Edo.
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.