Fill your home with these creative finds from GYOSHO FUKUI, a bazaar of goodies from the little known prefecture from Japan, held from 26 July to 22 August in Tokyu Hands Singapore. While Fukui Prefecture is one of the least populated regions in Japan it more than makes up with stunning artisans of traditional craftsmanships. Many of these are introduced to Singapore for the first time. Great as gifts or livening up your living room, here are our choices.
Coasters are a great way to dress up any table top. With Engi-gara (auspicious pattern) coasters from Echizen, they are also fantastic conversation starters. Based in Echizen City of Fukui prefecture, Oyanagi Tansu is an established traditional Echizen Tansu cabinet furniture maker with over 100 years of history. Celebrated for their expertise and commitment to perfection, Echizen Tansu cabinets are made by expert craftsmen who have a deep understanding of wood. Their traditional Fukui skills and complex techniques are so versatile that the artisans have transposed the intricate designs onto everyday items like coasters.
Each of the ancient Japanese patterns, called Wa-gara, have an auspicious meaning. The overlapping circles in the Seven Buddhist treasures called Shippou is a symbol for a happy family. Another design called Sayagata represents longevity and prosperity, among other things. Bring home a piece of Echizen history in the form of these ancient Japanese patterns. Inspired by natural elements like waves and leaves, most of them even date back all the way to the Heian period (794-1185) of Japan.
Hyozaemon’s crafted Wakasa-nuri chopsticks are made using traditional Wakasa-nuri lacquering techniques. Multiple layers of lacquer are delicately polished to form beautiful patterns and luscious deep colours. These chopsticks are not only delightful to look at. They are also food safe - only 100% natural lacquer was used to produce them. Not to be confused with the former President of United States, Hyozaemon is located in Obama City of Fukui Prefecture. Obama means “small beach” in Japanese and the city indeed has a small coast bordering the Sea of Japan. Because of its location, many travellers between China and Kyoto used to trade in Obama City and the region retains many Chinese influences.
One of its most famous exports is Wakasa lacquered chopsticks. Some of the best are made by Hyozaemon, a Wakasa-nuri chopstick specialty store with more than a century of experience. The chopsticks are 100% handmade and ergonomic. Try them for yourself at Gyosho Fukui and feel the difference.
Echizen City in Fukui Prefecture has prospered as a Japanese Washi paper manufacturing town for over 1,500 years. In fact, it has been the main industry in the Echizen region. With the highest in both production volume of Washi paper and number of Washi craftsmen in Japan, its 70 paper mills create some of the best Washi paper in the world. One such establishment is Osada Paper Mill.
To introduce Washi paper to the world, they have created the Torinoco Note, a ring bound notebook featuring traditional Echizen Washi. The handmade books are beautifully designed, inside and out.
Kumiko is a woodworking technique that has been refined over many years since the Asuka period (538-710). An ingenious technique for assembling wood without using nails, Kumiko is a disappearing traditional Japanese artform. The construction of kumiko and its intricate geometric shapes is excruciatingly difficult. Each piece must be accurate to within 0.1mm and kumiko artisans can train for decades. Often seen in ryokans, kumiko is also synonymous with Japanese home design.
To revive this ancient craft, Domoto Kogei from Takahama Town has created a line of Kumiko inspired products in modern permutations. Using tools and techniques handed down by generations, these new creations of traditional Kumiko-zaiku can be enjoyed everyday. As one of them, delicate geometric patterns make these earrings a delight to behold.
Blessed with greenery and encircled by a ring of mountains, Ono City in Fukui Prefecture is a castle town rich with history, culture and tradition. It is also where a charming leather boutique called Hattori Leather Shop is tucked away. Founded by self taught craftsman Yosuke Hattori, the eponymous label features a beguiling selection of original leather products not found anywhere else, including one-off unique items. The leather glasses holder, created with 100% genuine leather is an elegant holder for your glasses that will last you a long time.