Different roots
“Shippo” & “Shippo-yaki”

—— “Shippo-yaki” is a traditional craft of which prefecture?

❖ Traditional Crafts, Owari Shippo

Nationally Designated Traditional Crafts

Although the term “traditional crafts” may be lumped together, its meaning changes depending on which prefecture the craft is from. There are some categories of traditional Japanese crafts that are not generally recognized: those that are pervasive in the private sector, those that are certified by the prefectural government, and those that are recognized by the national government.

Among them, the so-called traditional crafts are the nationally recognized “traditional crafts” designated by Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industries (METI).

Cloisonne enamel generally refers to “Owari Shippo” which is one of the many cloisonne enamel cultures that have gained worldwide popularity and acclaim, and has been designated as a traditional craft by the government. Currently, Owari Shippo is produced only at a few establishments in Shippo-cho, Ama City and Nagoya City in Aichi Prefecture.

❖ Cloisonne of Aichi Prefecture origin

Owari Shippo recognized around the world

During the Tempo period at the end of the Edo period (1603-1868). A goldsmith of the Owari domain named Tsunekichi Kaji, became interested in beautiful plates brought by a Dutch ship and bought them to study them, but these plates were made using cloisonne enamel techniques. He later established a brand identity of cloisonne enamel called “Owari Shippo” named after the region where he was based. The name “cloisonne enamel ware” was also born, and he came to be known as the founder of modern cloisonne enamel.

Later, Owari Shippo and cloisonne enamel techniques improved dramatically with the help of renowned cloisonne craftsmen such as Sosuke Namikawa and Yasuyuki Namikawa, who were attracted by the beauty of Owari Shippo and engaged in cloisonne enamel production, and the German scholar Gottfried Wagener. Owari Shippo, which had caught the attention of the world at the World Expositions held in various countries during the same period, was in step with the current trends, and received extremely high acclaim both inside and outside the world, especially in Europe and the United States.

❖ Which prefecture’s traditional craft is cloisonne in the end?

“Shippo” = not “Shippo-yaki”

The term “Shippo-yaki” was first coined with “Owari Shippo” created by Tsunekichi Kaji, and has a slightly different meaning from the name of the craft technique of cloisonne enamel ware, which has existed since the Kofun period.

Cloisonne enamel called “Shippo” is a general term for a craft technique that has existed in China, the West, and ancient Egypt since ancient times, while cloisonne enamel refers to the unique cloisonne art works in Japan. In particular, “Owari Shippo,” which took the world by storm when it was first called “Shippo-yaki,” is the root and mainstream of cloisonne enamel, and the fact that it is the only one of the numerous cloisonne enamel arts designated as a traditional craft by the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI) confirms this.

However, since the term “Shippo-yaki” came to be widely used for cloisonne enamel ware in Japan after the Meiji period (1868-1912), there are many items called “Shippo-yaki” in Tokyo cloisonne enamel ware, Kyoto cloisonne enamel ware, and Osaka cloisonne enamel ware, which are also included in the broad sense of the term.

However, when asked which prefecture “Shippo-yaki” is from, it can be said that “Shippo-yaki” generally originates from Owari, and the town of Shippo-cho and Nagoya in present-day Aichi Prefecture, where Tsunekichi Kaji was active, can be called its place of origin.

A world depicted in gemstones

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