Lacquer ware by Shinji Goto
Born in 1971 in Yamagata prefecture. Live in Fujisawa city of Kanagawa prefecture. Entered the design school after having worked for electronics manufacturer. Worked for the advertising agency and engaged in editing the information magazines for decades. Quitted the life of a white-collar worker and started woodwork regularly. Entered Maruhito Co., Yokohama city as a craftsman of furniture for 5years. In 2007, studied the lacquer works under Mr.Toshiki Ozono authorized as national artisan of traditional crafts in the industry of “Kamakura-bori” lacquer ware. In 2010, established the company, `Goto-shitsugei’. In 2014, obtained the qualification of craftsman of “Kamakura-bori”.
About Goto-shitsugei
The company, Goto-shitsugei is located in Fujisawa city, Kanagawa prefecture. The company mainly covers the objects of “Kamakura-bori” with lacquer and produce the lacquer ware with original design. This company also produces wooden crafts and furniture.
Particular thought and expectation toward the products
Lacquer is called “Japanese” in English. In Japan, we’ve used objects with lacquer coating since Jomon period, more than 9,000years ago. It makes us to amaze that many red wooden bowls lacquered existed at that time. Lacquer is natural sap taken from the urushi trees. The lacquer comes to have a character of coating material who is resistant to water, acids, and alkalis when it is once dried. A sap of lacquer has an excellent quality of adhesive and a character of good gloss.
The lacquer ware still have been produced by handmade technique since the Jomon period. It is very important to touch and feel the natural materials and get six sense for the production, it is because we cannot make real beautiful products by machine and high-technology.
He thinks that the craftworks of lacquer ware is similar to the agriculture. He has to change the working plan by season and weather. He has to be sensitive to the temperature and humidity. He often makes the plan of painting lacquer to see the weather forecast. However, he loves “Mr. Urushi” who is alive in the nature even though he sometimes bother him to get a rash from his poisoning.
It is said that the lip is the most sensitive part of body. So ancient Japanese produced the lacquer ware and used them in the food culture, since they were fascinated with them to feel comfortable and healing through each lip.
He always designs and produces the wooden bowls to focus on the shape and the feel which match everybody’s hand and also focus on the form which we can wash easily since we use them every day. He designs the bowls to round the border between the body and the leg so that the dust may not collect on the edge of bottom part. He makes the flat rice bowls whose design is used to be popular in the early Showa period, approximate 90years ago.
As the process of production, he doesn’t use the usual technique which the mixture of lacquer and fine grained abrasive is coated for the base, but he makes the base by coating lacquer many times. This is because the quality should be much improved with increase of strength in my thought. To temper the finish of the lacquer ware, he powders on the surface. He always creates and innovates the products so that the customers can use them every day without concerning any damage.
It is the perfect finish to achieve the conservative and mat colors which go with European table style. It is possible to use the lacquer ware from generation to generation, since it is available to recoat and repair them. So in the case that the lacquer peels and chips, it is available to be reborn as new one. The content of lacquer ware is 100% of natural materials, so it is earth-friendly product.
The tools are indispensable for the craftsman of lacquer ware. The brush for coating lacquer is made by human’s hair. It is said that the women’s straight hairs are best for those tools. However, most women have their hairs perm these days so those brushes are rare at present. The workmen of making brushes have been sharply decreased. We change several sorts of brushes according to each process of lacquering and also according to colors. When the brush is deteriorated, we point them with a knife as we do it for pencils, so new one is appeared. He makes the spatulas which are used for kneading and adjusting lacquer, by himself. He thinks that it is very important for the craftsman of lacquer to use them for long time by treating the tools carefully and by repairing.

Characteristic of the products
The image of silent and casual existence by removing the gloss. For creating vermilion lacquer, powdered red iron oxide is applied to give the finish a unique patina. This material, red iron oxide has been used since Jomon period. That has an effect to protect from insects and prevent from rotting. For black lacquering, powdered cosmic hemp is applied to create outer layer. The crude cosmic hemp without any chemical ingredient is used. This material is utilized for detoxification of the bowel in Chinese medicine since the active carbon has the operation of absorption.


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