Handmade… and feet !

You have all discovered artisans we have met with the special issue… well no ! There's still a few treasures for you to discover (videos are still waiting to be mounted).

Back on our stay in Tokyo.

Laurent had knowledge of the Sashimono, Special to the Japanese Cabinet Assembly technique, and wanted to do a story on a craftsman mastering. It was not so easy to find one that accepts the idea (We already talked of the difficulty to meet the Japanese artisans HERE). It took us 5 meetings of craftsmen to be able to make a video.

The first meeting was with Akira Watanabe, Grand Master of the Sashimono. We went into his studio with our host Couch-surfer. Just arrived, Here we go, M. Watanabe gave us a demonstration of Sashimono in fourth gear (must not be missed for photos…). He answers our questions, and an hour of time is folded, He has an appointment and do not wish to come back film it as it is very busy and we speak of professional secrecy towards customers… Frustrating, because it made want to see more !

The second meeting took place at the nerve : seen the difficulties for an appointment, We pointed without warning at a craftsman, with a paper in Japanese for us present. Yoshio Inoue did not speak English, He was therefore forced to welcome us ! It also makes him a demonstration then let film while he continues to work. His workshop is tiny, filled with boards, Tools… There is not the place to move. We understand that they are 3 working in the workshop, where a French would be hard to install a single workbench ! It must be said that the Japanese bench is compact, We put it down (We're working sitting cross-legged), You can put it vertically when not in use and all the work is done by hand. His son joined us later, He speaks a little English, which facilitates conversation. Unfortunately, We cannot go back to film them, they moved the workshop the next day ! Damage, for Yoshio Inoue was really endearing.

Third workshop, with an appointment. Eiji Tanaka We welcome this time in a large workshop. He made a beautiful quick demo but cannot go further : He just finished a piece of furniture and here tackles to renovation ! No luck, Oh, really…

Fourth workshop, We start getting tired. M. SATO responds “No. No. No.” our paper in Japanese, categorically, that we understand why. We start getting really tired of these artisans who don't want to show anything ! M. SATO registered us another name with a little detailed plan wave. We are hopeless. We do not find, Laurent is well discouraged, He wants to go. Stubborn Guillemette insists, and finally, We fall on the workshop of a master of the Sahimono, Kimura Tadashi. It has the habit of interviews, out us all the magazines where they talk about him. His Studio is filled with all, he rummages, We released his books, his assemblages, its wood… without a word of English… and it works ! He's all proud to show us a certificate from the city of Marseille where he did a demonstration. This is the end of day, We will come back to see another day, He offers us before leaving a glass of ice cold sake, This is Laurent back to block ! Kimura will show us many things, It is a pleasure to look at work. But even once there no time that we came back to film him when he continues to work. Too bad, We have now to a report !

On the Edo Sashimono (own in Tokyo Cabinet), the Woods used are most of the time of Mulberry, of the zelkova, the paulownia or Cypress. The finish is in general of natural lacquer. Originality: assemblies are complex but once the furniture finish, This complexity must not be.

Everything is done by hand with multiple planes, scissors and saws, all Japanese Manufacturing course.

All in images :



  1. Always surprising and touching.
    Bravo for having persevered.
    What beautiful crafts. I guess stem that he rubs on the wood of the lacquered natural ?

  2. It is extraordinary! Thank you for sharing this interesting story at Japanese cabinetmakers. The Japan is still a very surprising with this coexistence of tradition and high technology.

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