Rediscover Japanese Lacquerware


Have you tried to use Japanese lacquer ware before? It is a sustainable ware and very light, not fragile and has natural infection-fighting properties, although it does have some difficulties to care for such as it needs to be dry after you use it, and you can’t put it in a wet location as that can cause distortion and you can’t put it into a dishwasher. So gradually Japanese people are getting used to not having lacquer ware as they love to use easy care, cheap and disposable items. Japanese people tend to have a more European or American lifestyle since the Japanese post-war economic miracle. Everyone love to use those easy, cheap, no need to think, disposable items for their lifestyle. I partly agree that easy care and honestly cheap things are helpful for me. However when I went to Wajima, Ishikawa prefecture, one of the most famous lacquer ware manufacture places in Japan to meet lacquer ware artisan Hiroyuki Yosida, he showed me how to make lacquer ware. There are more than 20 steps involved in making this kind of product and several people participate for making one item of lacquer ware. There is the wood artisan, the base coating artisan and also face coating artisans. It is all handmade and each artisan showed me wonderful craftsmanship. That moment was really special and breathtaking. Then after I went to see through the process of making lacquer ware and he also explained that lacquer ware is a little bit difficult to care for but it is long lasting and is able to enjoy the secular change, when you have it, lacquer ware looks smooth but a little bit matte shine at first, but when you have had it for five or ten years, the surface become more shiny and glazed looking. When I heard these stories I became intrigued by the idea of having lacquer ware. So I bought a soup bowl at his shop called “La Quarta“ I like the shape of the edge that will touch your mouth when you drink miso soup and I like the colour Shu-iro (Empire red) I don’t like decorated lacquer ware such as flour gold paintings and design in mother-of-pearl inlay. So this one is simple, not bright red and poised shape and tone, but expensive. Thus it is hard to make a decision to purchase these kinds of items as they are expensive but if you think that you buy disposable ware products 100 times or more, it will cost more than that, moreover you are not able to feel affection for your disposable table ware. However, be careful as there are many fake lacquer ware products around the world. Normally, they do not sell real Japanese lacquer ware for less than 5,000 JPY. It is difficult to recognize the difference between real wooden based lacquer ware and plastic based fake one. So you need to ask the shop owner and also touch the bottom of bowls, if you feel it is thick and gets thicker in the centre that means it will be a real one. If it is thin and the whole bottom thinness is same everywhere it will mean it is a fake plastic bowl. If you have a chance to see real lacquer ware I hope you will find your favorite one and enjoy your lacquer ware product life. It will make you feel warm and calm.

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