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  • November 2017
  • New Designation of Okuaizu-showa Karamushi Textiles, Chiba Artisan Tools, Tokyo Plain Dyeing, Sanshu Onigawara Crafts, and Etchu-fukuoka Sedge Hats as Traditional Crafts under the Act on the Promotion of Traditional Craft Industries

New Designation of Okuaizu-showa Karamushi Textiles, Chiba Artisan Tools, Tokyo Plain Dyeing, Sanshu Onigawara Crafts, and Etchu-fukuoka Sedge Hats as Traditional Crafts under the Act on the Promotion of Traditional Craft Industries

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) hereby announces that on November 30, 2017, it has newly designated the following five crafts as traditional crafts as defined in the Act on the Promotion of Traditional Craft Industries (hereinafter referred to as the “Act”): Okuaizu-showa Karamushi Textiles in Fukushima Prefecture, Chiba Artisan Tools in Chiba Prefecture, Tokyo Plain Dyeing in Tokyo, Etchu-fukuoka Sedge Hats in Toyama Prefecture, and Sanshu Onigawara Crafts in Aichi Prefecture.

1. New designation of traditional crafts

On September 5 and 19, 2017, the Traditional Craft Designation Subcommittee of the Manufacturing Industry Committee under the Industrial Structure Council examined the crafts and decided to newly designate these crafts listed above as traditional crafts. Accordingly, on November 30, 2017, this designation was announced via a public notice and the crafts have been listed as items designated by the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry (for the latest newly designated crafts, see Reference 1). The number of designated traditional crafts now comes to 230 items (for the list of all designated crafts, see Reference 3 of the Japanese language press release).

2. Outline of the newly designated crafts

1)Okuaizu-showa Karamushi Textiles
Okuaizu-showa Karamushi Textiles are traditional textiles produced in Showa Village in Fukushima Prefecture. Karamushi, also called Choma, is a type of perennial plant belonging to the family of Urticaceae. The village has for generations continuously been a producer of quality Karamushi as a raw material for premium textiles. Karamushi textiles have excellent moisture-absorption and quick-drying properties and are popular with many people for their smooth and pleasant texture, and thus they are applied to a variety of products, including summer clothing, small articles and ornaments.
2)Chiba Artisan Tools
Chiba Artisan Tools are traditional crafts produced in Tateyama City and other areas in Chiba Prefecture. Chiba Prefecture is an area traditionally famous for vital iron-making and forging industries, having contributed to the economic development of the Boso Peninsula. At the end of the Edo period and before and after the Meiji Restoration, the Chiba Artisan Tools artisans introduced techniques from Western countries and engaged in the domestic manufacture of Western artisan tools, such as shears and cattle cutting blades. Currently, the tool makers are committed to custom-order production that is tailor-made to the preferences of the customers.
3)Tokyo Plain Dyeing
Tokyo Plain Dyeing is a group of traditional dyed textiles produced in Shinjuku, Nakano, and Sumida Wards and other areas in Tokyo. The origin of Tokyo Plain Dyeing lies in plain dyeing of the mid- and late-Edo period, such as textiles in the colors of Edo Murasaki purple, indigo, safflower red, Edo-cha brown, popular among craftspersons in dyeing workshops from the period., Tokyo Plain Dyeing has been developing consistently since that time. The crafts are characterized by the techniques used for coordinating colors with repeated dyeing called “kasane-zome” that reuse dye liquor, and other techniques.
4)Etchu-fukuoka Sedge Hats
Etchu-fukuoka Sedge Hats are sewed shades produced in Takaoka City, Toyama Prefecture and other areas. Full-fledged production of the crafts started in the late Edo period, thoroughly backed by the local government’s support for the industry, and reached a peak around the end of the period. Currently, the crafts are manufactured using techniques that employ high quality sedge, which is applied to sun or rain shades for workers in agricultural fields and to tools for traditional events or festivals across Japan.
5)Sanshu Onigawara Crafts
Sanshu Onigawara Crafts are traditional tile crafts produced in Takahama City, Aichi Prefecture, and other areas. Production of the crafts is believed to have started around the mid-Edo period, and since then, craftspersons have been passing down the tradition for over 300 years. Craftspersons of onigawara tiles, called Oni-shi or Oni-itashi, still conduct a majority of the manufacturing steps by hand. In addition to traditional onigawara, which are traditionally engraved with devils and family emblems, the techniques are applied to a variety of products, including decorative tiles and exterior accessories for gardens and building entrances.
Reference:Details of the Act on the Promotion of Traditional Craft Industries
The Act aims to provide rich and varied cultural heritage for the public and contribute to the succession of traditional skills and techniques to the next generation, as well as to the economic development and creation of employment in various regions of Japan, through the promotion of traditional craft industries. Traditional crafts that are designated* under the Act are subject to various types of promotion policies stipulated under the Act.(for excerpts of the Act, see Reference 2 of the Japanese language press release).
*Five requirements must be satisfied in order to receive the designation: the craft should be: [ⅰ] a daily commodity, [ⅱ] handmade, [ⅲ] made using a traditional skill or technique with a continuous tradition of use for 100 years or more, [ⅳ] made of traditionally used raw materials, and [ⅴ] created in a particular geographical area.

Release date

November 30, 2017

Division in Charge

Traditional Craft Industry Office, Lifestyle Industries Division, Manufacturing Industries Bureau

Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry1-3-1 Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8901, Japan Tel: +81-(0)3-3501-1511
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