Each area in Japan is rooted with its own unique metal industry, and in Takaoka, Toyama Prefecture, a wide range of metal casting techniques such as bronze, alloy and tin have been developed. Bronze in particular accounts for 95% of the production nationwide.
Takaoka-Imono emerged from a town called Kanaya machi located along the Senbogawa river in Takaoka city, Toyama Prefecture. In 1609, Maeda Toshinaga, the second head of Kaga Domain and builder of a castle in Takaoka, invited seven Imoji artisans in hope of revitalizing the local industry.
The production of Imono using copper alloy became particularly popular around the 18th century. In 1873, at the Weltausstellung 1873 Wien, Kanamori Soshichi, who ran his own Imono production factory and exported his products, was awarded a prize, which led to more artisans in the country receiving awards, and Imono establishing its status globally. In 1975, it was certified as a Traditional Craftwork by the national government, and has since been used for the creation of a wide variety of products, with new crafting techniques constantly emerging.
Takaoka-Imono has recently been adopted for the production of bronze statues of popular manga characters, which have then been placed in various parts of Japan. For the past few years, local municipalities and people in shopping arcades in the metropolitan area have begun to place bronze statues of popular manga characters as part of their plan to revitalize their communities. In March, 2010, 11 statues of characters from the popular manga most commonly known as Kochikame were placed around the Kameari station in Katsushika Ward, Tokyo. In March, 2012, 12 statues of “family” characters from “Sazae-san”, a ubiquitous manga/anime series that depicts the everyday life of one family, were put in place around the Sakura-shinmachi station of the Tokyu Denen-toshi line as part of the city’s shopping arcade, “Sakura-shinmachi” shopping street in Setagaya Ward trying to enliven its community. In March, 2013, a bronze statue of Ozora Tsubasa, the main character from the manga “Captain Tsubasa”, was placed in Yotsugi-tsubasa park in Katsushika Ward, Tokyo. All statues are made of Takaoka-Imono. By collaborating with popular manga characters in the form of bronze statues, Takaoka Imono has made itself known to many around the country, which led to boosting the sale of its products as well.
As for plateware, the gorgeous looks of cups and sauce-pouring containers using antibacterial tin make them popular as gifts for loved ones.
Nowadays many companies in Takaoka are shifting their production focus to the making of high-quality interior decoration. These combine modern tastes with the influence of Japanese design to create products you won’t find anywhere else.
CiC Bldg 5F 1-2-3 Shintomi-cho Toyama-shi Toyama-ken
Takaoka Local Industry Center
1-1 KaihatsuHonmachi Takaoka-shi Toyama-ken