Hakone Wood Mosaic Work
This form of marquetry began at the post town in the mountains of Hakone about the middle of the 19th century. At first it was mainly an unstructured form of marquetry or one using a simple pattern. Then in the 1870s, marquetry skills from around Shizuoka were introduced and now Hakone Yosegi Zaiku is well known for its extremely fine handwork and as being the only craft of its kind in Japan.
Echigo Yoita Forged Blades
The making of Echigo Yoita Uchihamono dates back to the Sengoku period (1428-1573) of unrest. It was then that warring feudal lords who fought alongside Uesugi Kenshin encouraged swordsmiths from Kasugayama into the area and these skilled men began making various kinds of forged blades.
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.
Niigata Lacquer Ware
Techniques were originally introduced from other centers where lacquer ware was being made at the beginning of 17th century but in 1638, a specialist area for the selling of japanned goods was established under the name of a ""bowl store"" in what is now Furumachi, and received official protection. By 1819, the craft was well enough established for a list of ""master lacquerers"" to be recorded.
Kyoto Stone Carving
Although man's relationship with stone began long ago in the Stone Age, it was not until the end of the Nara period (710-794) when Buddhism was introduced into Japan that stone became more than just a utilitarian material.
Obori Soma Ware
Indications are that the origins of Obori Soma Yaki go back to toward the end of the 17th century.
Although the history of Isesaki Kasuri dates back to ancient times, it was not until the latter half of the 17th century that a production center for these cloths became established. Also, from the middle of the 19th century right up until relatively recent times, these cloths were known throughout Japan as Isesaki meisen.
The origins of Shinshu Tsumugi go back to a silk cloth called ashiginu that was woven in the Nara period (710-794). Because of the rivalry and encouragement that the clans in the province of Shinshu were given, sericulture was very popular and the production of pongee throughout the province flourished, and every year large quantities of cloth were dispatched to Kyoto.
Murakami Carved and Lacquered Ware
The Murakami area of Niigata Prefecture has been well known since the Heian period (794-1185) as a natural lacquer producing area. Using this refined sap, Murakami Kibori Tsuishu dates back to the beginning of the 15th century.
Kyoto Round Fans
Kyo Uchiwa go back to the period in Japanese history known as the Northern and Southern Dynasties (1333-92). It is said that round fans from Korea were brought back to western Japan by wako, Japanese pirates who were constantly raiding the coast of Ming dynasty China and Korea at the time. These imported fans then found their way up through the Kishu to Nara and then onto Fukakusa where aristocrats from Kyoto had their country villas.
The origins of the Ogatsu Suzuri can be traced back to the Muromachi period (1392-1573). Then, at the beginning of the 17th century, two inkstones were presented to the military commander, Date Masamune, who was on a deer hunt on Toojima, an island off the Ojika Peninsular. It seems that he was highly delighted with the stones and reciprocated generously.
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.