Living National Treasure

Isoi Joshin

Isoi Joshin

(1883-1964)

Named an Important Intangible Cultural Property Holder for kinma in 1956. Born in Miyawaki, Kagawa-gun (present day Kameokacho, Takamatsu City). By studying the works of Tamakaji Zokoku, called the father of Kagawa lacquerware arts, Isoi originated the tenbori kinma (dot-carving kinma) style, which uses the size and texture of dots to create three dimensionality and depth, as well as shadows and light. He also formed societies for the study of arts and crafts, and greatly elevated the level of Kagawa lacquerware arts, while also providing instruction to future generations at Kagawa Prefectural Takamatsu Kogei High School, Okayama University, and the Kagawa Urushi Lacquerware Institute. He was awarded the Medal with Purple Ribbon in 1961.

Otomaru Kodo

Otomaru Kodo

(1898-1997)

Named an Important Intangible Cultural Property Holder for choshitsu in 1955. Born in Minami-Kameicho, Takamatsu City.
An apprentice to Ishii Keido, from whom he learned woodcarving, Otomaru became independent in 1914 and studied the lacquerware works of Tamakaji Zokoku. After being selected for the 13th Imperial Academy Art Exhibition for the first time in 1932, and being selected repeatedly thereafter, in 1942 his "Cosmetic box with moon-flower design" won a special award in the 5th New Bunten Exhibition. In addition to the 5 colors of lacquer, which are limited to vermillion, black, yellow, green, and brown, he also incorporated the new lake pigment, neutral colors, which are difficult to achieve, and vividly colored lacquer as well. His work greatly expanded the range of expression in color.

Isoi Masami

Isoi Masami

(1926- )

Named an Important Intangible Cultural Property Holder for kinma in 1985. Born in Nishihama-Shinmachi, Takamatsu City.
He learned lacquerware techniques studying under his father, Isoi Joshin. He created a number of original techniques, including sekiso (laminating) which uses layers of shina veneer sheets to form a base material, as well as ofukubori, featuring dot carving with angular knives or scrapers. These techniques broadened the range of expression in the kinma style.
He has worked to teach future generations as an instructor at the Kagawa Urushi Lacquerware Institute since 1968.
He was awarded the Medal with Purple Ribbon in 1986, and the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette in 1998.

Ota Hitoshi

Ota Hitoshi

(1931-2019)

Named an Important Intangible Cultural Property Holder for kinma in 1994. Born in Okayama City, Okayama Prefecture.
He studied lacquerware art as an apprentice of Isoi Joshin, who was an instructor at Okayama University.
He created the rantai-soji method, in which a bamboo wickerwork pattern is affixed to a wooden frame, interwoven, then strengthened and hardened with lacquer before being removed. Additionally, he created a new method called nunomebori kinma, in which vertical, horizontal and diagonal line carvings are inlaid with colored lacquer and then ground down to create detailed and complex color planes. He expanded the scope of expression in the kinma style by combining traditional line carving techniques with the methods he had invented.

Yamashita Yoshito

Yamashita Yoshito

(1951- )

Named an Important Intangible Cultural Property Holder for kinma in 2013. Born in Takamatsu City.
After graduating from Kagawa Prefectural Takamatsu Kogei High School, he studied under Isoi Masami. He also studied under makie lacquerware Living National Treasure, Taguchi Yoshikuni, from 1976. In 1989, he was awarded the Asahi Prize at the 36th Japan Traditional Kogei Exhibition for his “Kinma writing-paper box Haruka”. He supervised the restoration of Kotohiragu Shrine's makie ceiling painting featuring a cherry tree design. His works are characterized by new ideas and detailed designs composed of familiar natural elements, such as water ripples, the moon, stars and rainbows. Many of his works feature a combination of kinma and makie lacquerware techniques.