Our Story


Urushi (Japanese lacquer) is the sap of the sumac tree.
From an adult tree that is 10~15 years old we can only collect approximately 250ml.
It is a precious blessing of nature.

Plant trees, grow them, and receive sap.
If this cycle is not broken, urushi will not run out.

We receive tree sap from lacquer scrapers, refine it,
Deliver to lacquerware artists and craftsmen.
What I feel through this work
I want to tell a lot of people.


“Don't waste a drop”

These words, which the first generation, Asayoshi spoke like a habit, are an expression of respect for the material called lacquer and a feeling of gratitude for being able to live thanks to lacquer. Even now that the company was founded 114 years ago, it has been passed down as a company motto.

In the past, we, a lacquer shop, focused only on providing a stable supply of high-quality lacquer.

However, times have changed, and lacquer is steadily declining in modern society.

At a time when lacquer and crafts were part of our lives, craftsmen who made lacquerware were busy with work. Every day, so as not to run out of lacquer at each workshop, I pile up barrels on my bicycle and go around delivering them. At that time, there was no need to think about the future, and there was no room for that. What followed was rapid economic growth after the war, the collapse of the bubble, and the IT revolution.

There was a demand for cheap, fast, and convenient things, and lacquer and crafts disappeared from everyday life. Mass production, mass consumption, and single use are commonplace. In the modern age where values that are the exact opposite of the way lacquer should be have become everyday, it is no longer possible to imagine the future 10 years from now. It was obvious that it was impossible to continue doing business just by waiting for orders in the same way as in the old days.


From about 40 years before we were born until now, domestic demand for lacquer has declined at a frightening speed. A lacquerware shop works between mountains and users. As the amount of lacquer used has decreased, lacquer trees growing in the mountains, lacquer scrapers, and even the tools they use are in a tight spot. On the other side of rapid progress in technology, the earth is being damaged, and lacquer and traditional crafts are declining.

At this rate, lacquer culture will disappear

What can we do now as lacquerware makers? First, I thought I'd start by telling it.
The appeal of lacquer as a material.
The sad state of affairs.

As we refine lacquer every day,
I am drawn in by the beauty and fun of lacquer as a material that changes brightly.


A coating film unique to lacquer that hardens while retaining moisture
It blends well with human skin, and the more you use it, the more it grows into a tasteful luster.
I feel attached to it, and I use it with care.
Even if it's damaged during use, repair it,
It can be used across generations.

Respect your ancestors.
Put your hands together.
Feel the material with all five senses.
The Japanese look was commonplace in the old days.

Being passive doesn't change anything.
We also have to move forward.
In 2016 we started “Urushi no Ippo”.


Thanks to you, it was a great response.
I was happy.
It was picked up by the media, and requests for lectures also increased.
However, I noticed at one point that most of them were reactions from people involved in lacquer and crafts.
I want people outside of that circle who have never touched lacquer to know about lacquer.

I want to convey the appeal of lacquer to more people across countries and generations

In 2019, we launched BEYOND TRADITION, a project to disseminate new values and possibilities of urushi.

We wanted to change the image of urushi as “high-class and difficult to handle” and “something special.” We want you to enjoy using it and wearing it in just as you would with jeans and leather products. I thought about conveying the appeal of urushi in a way that would resonate with young people. Urushi is a sustainable natural material that is kind to people and the earth. I want people to take an interest in environmental issues by learning about urushi.

When I talked about this kind of thing I found it resonated with people not only in Japan but around the world. Little by little, we began to realize the new possibilities of urushi. As we continued, the number of friends who wanted to get involved also grew.

I want to practice cradle-to-cradle manufacturing and expand the possibilities of crafts

Right now, we are taking on something big: Japanese crafts.
I want to create a base for recycling-oriented manufacturing centered around urushi, and convey the appeal of various craft materials.
Plant, grow, and create trees by imagining 10 or 15 years from now.
We want to realize sustainable forest development and manufacturing together with local communities, governments, educational institutions, and companies.
These activities form the basis of our “Forest of Craft” project, and through these processes we hope we can realize this more sustainable form of making.

Urushi culture, and a clean earth
In order to connect to the next generation of children