The 4 Best Lacquerware Brands in Japan
Lacquerware is widely found in East and South-East Asia, including Japan, China, Vietnam, and Myanmar, among which Japanese lacquerware and Chinese lacquerware are especially world-famous.
The former was called “Japan”, while the latter was called “China” in Europe where the 2 Asian lacquerware started to be imported in the late 16th century.
Japanese lacquerware is a craft mainly made of wood and includes a wide range of products, from luxury goods to tableware in daily life. The lacquered ones are superior to normal wooden crafts in many respects, which include the below.
- Japanese lacquerware is a reliable product made only with natural materials
- It outlasts ordinary wooden crafts
- It has an antibacterial effect
- It is stain-resistant, so the maintenance is easy
- It has a mothproof effect
- The longer it is used, the better polish it takes on
Cautionary Notes on the Use
- Don’t use it with microwave ovens, dishwashers, or dish dryers
- Don’t put it in the refrigerator for a long time
- Don’t rub it with a hard sponge
- Don’t expose it to sunlight. It is weak to ultraviolet
- Don’t put it in water for a long time.
Japan’s 4 Best Lacquerware Brands
As you can see in the photo above, lacquerware is produced in many areas of Japan. Even among those, “Aizu lacquerware (会津漆器)”, “Yamanaka lacquerware (山中漆器)”, “Echizen lacquerware (越前漆器)”, and “Kishu lacquerware (紀州漆器)” are especially famous and generally known as Japan’s 4 Best Lacquerware.
Aizu Lacquerware (会津漆器)
Aizu lacquerware is a traditional craft made in the Aizu region of Fukushima Prefecture whose origin is said to date back to the late 16th century. There are a variety of techniques in Aizu lacquerware, which include “Raden (螺鈿)”, “Makie (蒔絵)”, “Urushie (漆絵)”, “Kanshitsu (乾漆)”, and “Hananuri (花塗り)”. Many of those techniques, such as Makie (gold lacquer), Raden (mother-of-pearl), and Urushie (lacquer painting), are applied on the surface of lacquerware.
Yamanaka Lacquerware (山中漆器)
Yamanaka lacquerware is a traditional craft of Kaga, Ishikawa Prefecture with more than 400 years of history. The techniques characteristic of Yamanaka lacquerware are “Kashoku Biki (加飾挽き)”, “Usubiki (薄挽き)”, and “Taka Makie (高蒔絵)”. Kashoku Biki is the technique of making very fine decorations on the surface of lacquerware, Usubiki is the technique of thinly sawing wood, and Taka Makie refers to embossed gold lacquer.
Echizen Lacquerware (越前漆器)
Echizen lacquerware is a traditional craft that the city of Sabae, Fukui Prefecture, boasts. It is said that the origin dates back to the 6th century. An emperor at that time was deeply impressed by the beauty of the lacquerware and recommended producing it more. Echizen lacquerware is characterized by its classical elegance and excellent durability, and the one made of white wood is known as “Kawada-Nuri (河和田塗)”.
Kishu Lacquerware (紀州漆器)
Kishu lacquerware is a traditional craft that has been handed down from generation to generation in the city of Kainan, Wakayama Prefecture. It is said that the origin dates back to the Muromachi period (1336 to 1573), and in the Edo period (1603 to 1868), Kishu lacquerware was developed under the patronage of the shogunate family “Tokugawa (徳川)”. In general, Kishu lacquerware is simple and stout so that it can be light-heartedly used in daily life.
(Reference Page: Wikipedia 漆器 )