Kagawa Lacquer Ware


Kagawa Shikki started at the end of the Edo period (1600-1868), by Tamakaji Zokoku, a famous lacquerer with the development of new techniques that came into being by combining traditional Japanese techniques with skills such as kinma and zonsei which had been brought to Japan from Thailand and China.
These locally developed techniques have been handed down over the years and many of these characteristic pieces, which are referred to collectively as Kagawa lacquer ware, are being produced around Takamatsu. It is undoubtedly the country's top lacquer ware producer in terms of variety, producing everything from tables to display shelves to trays, coasters and candy bowls.

Five different techniques are used in the making of this distinctive ware, namely kinma, goto-nuri, zonsei, choshitsu and zokoku-nuri. Whichever one is used, the tasteful character and sense of quality only increase with use and the passing of time, and serve to give this ware is distinctive coloring.


Typical techniques of Kagawa shikki are “kinma”, “goto-nuri”, “zosei”, “choshitsu”, and “zokoku-nuri”. By these techniques, the distinctive tone of Kagawa shikki comes out increasing "taste" and "refinement" with use of over the course of many years. Interest in this lacquerware is growing every year as witnessed by the increasing number of orders coming in from the rest of Kagawa Prefecture as well as from all over the country.

How to make

The name Kinma, the most representative of Kagawa shikki techinques, it said to come from the name of a Thai plant. This method consists in applying several layers of lacquer, then engraving patterns and inlaying color lacquer into the engraved areas. In this unique method, the task of carving and embedding is repeated for each color of the vermilion lacquer and the yellow lacquer, and when embedding is competed, the surface is polished flat.