Shozu Shikko Kiji-shi

Lifetime Dedication and the Pursue of the Happiness of Career by Mr. Kubode.

He says that he discovers new things even now, after dedicating sixty years for this job, by thinking of woods every day. He once attempted to introduce a dryer to his atelier, which is necessary for the first process of woodcarving, but he was declined by many companies. However, he never gave up and made his own dryer by himself. This describes his attitude towards his works – providing necessary gadget by himself as majority of craftsmen do so, and never be afraid of introducing new technology to overcome what he has never done. It sounds hard, but he says he has never been tired of it.

Shoji Kubode, the second-generation president of Shouzu Shikkou (Shozu Shikko)
(left) Shouji KubodePresident and CEO, Kiji-shi (Shozu Shikko)
(right) Takao KubodeManager, Kiji-shi (Shozu Shikko)
In 1946, the first generation of the company established Kubode Kigei (Kubode Woodcarving Atelier), and later changed their name to Shouzu Shikkou. Mr. Kubode, the president, and woodcarving artist has a sixty-year career in the industry.

Kiji-shi – Woodcarving Artist

Many of the materials used in lacquerware are wood. The woodcarving artists are responsible for the process of molding the wood into the shape of a vessel after Arabiki-shi roughly shaped it. The characteristic of Yamanaka area in Ishikawa prefecture is its technical capabilities to make use of the material itself, “wood”. It should be noted that it is a technique that is performed only in Yamanaka area called “Tatedori” (literally: vertical taking) which makes the material wood resistant to distortion by cutting the vessel out of the tree along the direction that the wood grows.

  • The very first step woodcarving artists do is drying. The rough-grinded material which contains a lot of moisture is put in the dryer, controlling humidity for about two weeks, so that the woods will be manageable.

  • Shozu Shikkou performs works by the coexistence of machinery and manpower with craftsmanship using “steel lathes”.

  • It is a technique that attaching a special blade to the lathe machine, set the shaving type, and then apply the blade to the wood rotating by the power of the machine and scrape it, which seems to be efficient.

  • However, individual differences will appear because woods are natural materials. Therefore, craftsmen adjust the wood with the sense of their eyes and hands at the end of the process.

  • They were the first to introduce steel lathes in the production area and have been using them for around fifty years.

  • The blade is made of Swedish steel by cutting it out by the hand of the kiji-shi themselves.