Lacquer ware and ceramic ware have a long history and tradition in Japan, and Kagawa lacquer is another branch of this great crafts family. It is registered as one of the Traditional Crafts of Japan, and uses five main methods. One of them is Kinma, probably the one that is associated with Kagawa lacquer ware the most. The name Kinma is said to come from a type of botanical leaf from Myanmar. This method involves applying a paste of lacquer to bases first, then engraving the surface with sharp knives with special blades, followed by color application, drying and grinding for the removal of excess lacquer. Using special methods of grinding and polishing makes the lacquered article attain unusual brilliance and deep shine. Designs and patterns for Kagawa lacquer ware were regarded as quite exotic and sophisticated in the 17th century.
Yorishige Matsudaira came to this province given by the Tokugawa Shogunate in 1638. He was particularly fond of lacquer and sculpture and promoted the industry as a result. Two centuries later, Zoukoku Tamakaji (1807-1869), the man regarded as the modern founder of Kagawa lacquer ware, introduced the craft and spread its popularity across the country.
You can find many traditional items such as trays, small decorative boxes, flower base, tea containers, etc. They have smart phone cover and ice containers as well. The elegant and detailed craftsmanship offers an exotic aura with a Japanese originality that cannot be missed.
Photo by Kagawa Prefecture Tourism Association