Aizu is located in the southern part of the Tohoku region and is known as a place where nature and history are richly preserved and a unique culture takes root.
The Aizu region is a basin surrounded by rich nature and has become a famous lacquerware production area where the entire process from the production of materials, such as cultivating lacquer trees, collecting sap, and cutting nearby trees, to the processing and finishing of lacquerware can be done locally.
Aizu lacquerware has continued to grow up to the present day, as it has always proactively adopted the latest technology in addition to the traditional techniques that have survived for over 400 years.
The graceful design of Aizu Lacquerware
Aizu lacquerware is characterized by its auspicious designs and the beauty of various decorations. The grooves on the surface of the lacquerware are carved more finely and shallowly than in lacquerware from other regions, the decorations give a softer look.
“Keshi-fun-makie” is a technique representative of Aizu lacquerware, in which the work is painted with a brush full of lacquer and then sprinkled with the finest gold powder using cotton buds while checking the drying process.
The motifs of pine, bamboo, plum, ceremonial arrow, and spinning wheel, which are often used in Aizu lacquerware, have the following meanings.
Aizu Fukunishi-Sobe Shoten
Fukunishi-Sobe Shoten was started by taking over the lacquerware division from the main family, which had been in existence for 13 generations since the early Edo period. They have developed their products over time by figuring out “what must not be changed and what must be changed”.
In addition to the lacquering technique that makes the most of the moist luster of lacquerware, the company has handed down the unique decorative techniques of Aizu, such as Aizu-e painting with motifs of pine, bamboo, plum, and ceremonial arrow, and the spinning wheel.
Fukunishi Sobe’s lacquerware flexibly incorporates modern industrial technology, and is a special product that has a high artistic value as well as an aspect of being daily use items with which long-time use gives an additional charm.
What is Osechi Ryori?
Recipe ideas from JOC
Osechi Ryori is the traditional food enjoyed on New Year’s day in Japan. They come in an assortment of colorful dishes packed together in special boxes called jubako, which resemble bento boxes. Every dish of these traditional foods has a special meaning in welcoming the New Year.