CRAFTSMAN

Miyazaki Mokuzai – Kyo-sashimono (wood joining)

As a company, we have inherited our techniques

The first in the dynasty studied for many years under the tutelage of a sashimono master of the Imperial Palace; in 1856, he went independent and established himself as a Kyo-sashimono artisan in Ebisugawa in the south of Kyoto Imperial Palace. The company used Kyo-sashimono as a base and expanded into the field of interior decoration; it had a hand in creating the interior and the furniture of the Homeiden State Banquet Hall in the New Showa Imperial Palace. As a company, they have placed great emphasis on the continuation of their skills, with artisans getting their qualifications as certified woodwork technicians; up until now, they have produced two traditional craftspeople.

Right: Satoshi Fujita,Director, deputy general manager of production and Kyoto plant manager.
Entered the company in 1986. Having gained experience with the company in the areas of production, production control, sales and planning, he was appointed Kyoto plant manager in 2016. He inherited technology passed down over 162 years, and is committed to the creation of products that adopt methods unique to Kyo-sashimono that other companies do not possess. Mr. Fujita believes that “the starring role” belongs to the artisan, and trains artisans who take designs and plans and attribute them a form.
(left) Iemura Kensuke, traditional craftsman
Entered the company in 1997. In 2005, he acquired certification as a first-class woodwork technician, and in 2018, he was recognized as a traditional craftsman. While taking responsibility for the things that he himself creates, Mr. Iemura also acquired certification as a traditional craftsman of Kyo-sashimono (wood joining) so as to be evaluated from an objective perspective. He continues to hone his craft, observing that despite having been an artisan for twenty years, he is still an amateur.

Kyo-sashimono

Sashimono refers to the woodworking technique whereby boards are joined with boards, rods with boards and rods with rods and these are all fitted together. Kyo-sashimono has evolved as a high level technique in terms of furniture sashimono, tea ceremony sashimono, bending, carving, turnery and coopering. One of the characteristics of Kyo-sashimono is its paulownia products. Paulownia is water and heat resistant, and is synonymous with luxury storage items. The paulownia used with Kyo-sashimono has been naturally dried over a long period of time; pains have been taken to remove the astringency from the wood and create a base material, and it has been finished in such a way as to show the natural grain of the wood off to effect.

  • To dry the wood, the raw timber is cut into boards and dried both naturally and by artificial means, after which it is fashioned into bare wood.

  • After correcting those boards that are warped or curved, they are rough cut to size.

  • A carpenter’s square and a marking knife are employed to determine the measurements.

  • Wooden joint working is used to join the boards together.

  • It is assembled, the joined sections and the periphery sections are planed using a flat plane, and then the piece is finished.