Tendo Japanese Chess Pieces
When the fortunes of the Oda clan controlling this area of northern Japan were failing toward the end of the Edo period (1600-1868), an attempt to improve matters was made by engaging lower ranking warriors in the making of shoji chess pieces, from which the craft developed.
The woods used are cucumber tree (Magnolia obovata), snowbell (Styrax obassic), maple (Acer Mono), spindle (Euonymus Sieboldianus), and boxwood (Buxus microphylla). The characters are usually written on the pieces with urushi, the Japanese name for natural lacquer, but in the case of top quality pieces, natural lacquer is built up on a character carved into a piece of boxwood. Now 95% of all shogi pieces made in Japan come from Tendo. Established as a craft industry, there are now 34 firms employing 80 staff, 11 of which are government recognized Master Craftsmen.
- Tendo Japanese Chess Piece Association
- 1-3-28 Oinomori,
Tendo, Yamagata Prefecture
Website : http://www.tendocci.com/koma/