Asagi-wan

There was an old woodworker who wished to revive Asagi-wan - a type of bowl used by the common people in the Edo period. Through a relationship with the woodworker who inherited his wish, these beautiful lacquer bowls made of hinoki cypress from the northern part of Japan were born.

We want to pass on the circle of craftsmanship that links nature and life to the future. The Asagi-wan Project is also an initiative to foster successors to Kyoto lacquerware. The overlapping thoughts of the makers in the field of craftsmanship, which is facing major challenges, resonated with many people.

Urushi is the ideal material for tableware.

While we have endeavored to expand the possibilities of urushi beyond the framework of traditional crafts, using it on surfboards, skateboards and bicycles, we also want urushi to be at the heart of daily life: used on floors and furniture that come into contact with the skin and, above all, on the tableware which we use to eat and drink. This is because urushi is a natural material that can be used safely and its presence naturally encourages us to carry ourselves more elegantly.

Preserving the work of artisans

In Kyoto, traditional techniques unique to the region have been handed down, including the production of tea ceremony utensils. Skilled craftsmen apply urushi to wood that has been shaved so thin it is semi-transparent in light, producing lacquerware that can be used for more than 100 years. However, in today's world of cheap mass-production, the demand for craftsmen's handiwork is decreasing year by year. Even if young people aspire to become craftspeople, they cannot train because there is nothing to make. In order to do something about this situation, various activities are being carried out not only in the Asagi-wan Project but also in other parts of the country.

Bowls made with the user in mind

Even though the bowls look similar, a closer look reveals that the maker's thoughts are expressed everywhere, from the size of the base, to the curves that make up the round form, to the thickness of the body. The shape of the bowls is determined by the kind of people who will use them and the scenes in their daily lives that come to mind.

The Asagi-wan has a dignified appearance with its high base supporting the body. It is a very Kyoto-like and elegant bowl. The children's bowls are a smaller version of the adult bowls. You can fit the bowl comfortably in the palm of your hand as you eat soup or noodles. We thought that by treating the bowls with care, a sense of appreciation for food could be cultivated.

A chance to get to know more about urushi and the craft

These bowls for daily use were created by the now deceased rokuro-shi (woodworker) Ishikawa Koji, who wanted to create bowls to connect the culture of Kyoto lacquerware to the next generation. Naoki Nishimura, a rokuro woodworker, inherited his will and joined with Keikou Nishimura, a urushi craftsman, who wanted to preserve Naoki's woodworking techniques for the next generation. Many other people including Tsutsumi Asakichi Lacquer Shop joined the team and the Asagi-wan were completed. If this project becomes the spark that causes some to like urushi and craft it would make us very happy.

Click here for the Asagi bowls product page.

https://www.kourin-urushi.com/?pid=169587298

Gallery.
Credit

Members of the 'Asagi Bowl Project'

Founder.

Mitsuharu Ishikawa (deceased Ishikawa urushiworkshop)

Naoki Nishimura (Rokuro Kijishi).

Operational members :.

Ryo Ishikawa (Ishikawa urushiworkshop)

Takuya Tsutsumi (Tsutsumi Asakichi urushishop)

Keikou Nishimura and Yoko Nishimura (Keikou Nishimura, urushiworkshop)

Locro Woodworker Apprenticeship:.

Aya Nagai 

Ueda, Masahiro 

Paint apprenticeship:.

Yusuke Iijima 

Kumi Goto 

Cooperation by.

Akiko Higa (Kyoto Municipal Industrial Technology Research Institute). 

Sachiko Matsuyama 

Photo.

Naoki Miyashita (Terminal 81).