Tsugaru NuriTsugaru Lacquer Ware

Beginning of Tsugaru Nuri dates back early in the Edo era. When craftsman made with Laquer Ware which was renewed by feudal lord of Tsugaru feudal clan whether it is meal began, we are informed.
It was at the beginning of the Meiji era that Tsugaru Nuri fixed form as industry and we were based on traditional technique repeated in the Edo era and developed. Many artisans concentrated inventive idea and polished technique and built today's Tsugaru Nuri afterwards.

The making of this ware dates back to the beginning of the 17th century, when the fourth generation of leaders of the Tsugaru clan engaged craftsmen skilled in the making of lacquer ware. A production center became established toward the end of the 19th century and the craft developed from the traditional skills which had been acquired over the preceding period of approximately 300 years.
The continual process of refinement of techniques and the original ideas developed by the many craftsmen and women since then, are the sum total of the craft today.

Centered on Hirosaki in Aomori Prefecture, no other traditional forms of lacquer ware are produced any further north in Japan. Inevitably there is a warmth and charm about this craft that is missing from a machine made product. A number of distinctive techniques are used. The one called nanako-nuri has the stylish feel of the kind of fine patterns found on some kimono cloths, whereas monsha-nuri has an elegant modern feel with its mat black ground. They produce pieces of furniture including tables, various pieces of tableware as well as fine pieces to be used in the tea ceremony. Trays and chopsticks are as finely produced as any other item and flower vases, too, glow with the fine traditions of this craft.

  • Notification

    skills and techniques

    The groundwork applies unrefined varnish to bare wood directly, and "you help put on cloth", and do "this honesty structure" after oshita by repeating thing which mixed base powder, the U.S. seaweed or dust with unrefined varnish, and applying.

    tourushi is thing by any of the following.

    When is in Tang coat, thing by the next technique or technique.

    Put purified black lacquer using "device seawife", and "paint, and divide" using purified Aya lacquer of having many kinds; osurukoto.

    After doing "wife coat", and having applied purified openwork lacquer, we grind "clouded gold lacquer" using "Oshimizu whetstones".

    Do "roiro finish".

    When is in nanako coat, thing by the next technique or technique.

    After having done average coat and average coat grind, you apply purified Aya lacquer or purified black lacquer, and sow rapeseed.

    After removing rapeseed, and having applied purified Aya lacquer, we grind "clouded gold lacquer" using "Oshimizu whetstones".

    Do "roiro finish".

    When is in lacquer in various colors, thing by the next technique or technique.

    After having done average coat and average coat grind, "kind lacquering" does red and yellow purified Aya lacquer, and sow rapeseed.

    After having removed rapeseed, using "Oshimizu whetstones," work as "grinder".

    After having created arabesque and Saaya form using purified black lacquer, describe cloud form using green purified Aya lacquer.

    You apply purified Aya lacquer, and sow "color powder" which mixed bell powder with vermilion.

    Do "roiro finish".

    When is in figured silk gauze coat, thing by the next technique or technique.

    You work as average coat and average coat grinder and "you draw wood block state" and apply purified openwork lacquer after oshita, and sow chaff charcoal powder or kentanfun.

    Do "roiro finish".

    Raw materials

    Assume lacquer natural lacquer.

    Assume bare wood hiba, hoo, wig or material having materials which are equal to zelkova or these.


  • Work scenery

    Coating and grind repeated over and over again are settled for Tsugaru Nuri of features after bare wood, the groundwork, three processes of coating.
    By bare wood process from felling of wood to drying, getting out cut with potter's wheel. Until middle coating that is lacquered imprinting to bare wood, lacquering to the arrival at cloth sekara groundwork by groundwork process. And we repeat coating and grind to give elegant design characterizing Tsugaru Nuri by coating process.
    We introduce Tsugaru Nuri nodekirumadeogo by Tang coat (paint) here.

    Process 1: Timber conversion

    After having dried wood which we cut and brought down, we cut into pieces to appropriate material. We cut core or part with ko itokoro clause and breaking of quality of wood by timber conversion roughly.
    We use Magnolia obovata for turnery which begins to sharpen, and makes hiba with potter's wheel including bowl to armor-back held-flag to prepare in combination board including tray and tatami-room table into.

    Process 2: We help put on cloth

    There are several kinds of methods made with base, but take up depending Katashimo place to help put on cloth which is performed most in Tsugaru Nuri here.
    We stencil lacquer evenly and waterproof the whole ground bare wood. We paint cloth of Azabu with paste lacquer (and it can appear) which kneaded a mixture of lacquer with the U.S. paste and wind around the surface of bare wood afterwards. It is important to let bare wood and cloth adhere well.

    Video is played when we click image

    Process 3: Ground charge account

    Hit the most coarse ground lacquer in groundwork materials and paint with gradually small lacquer first. We paint place of Tsugaru Nuri lacquer using spatula using thing which kneaded a mixture of Yamashina base powder (yamashinajinoko), paste lacquer, unrefined varnish uniformly. If ground lacquer dries enough, we polish the surface evenly and polish when we paint with running out of thin worth powder, rust urushi than ground lacquer likewise. We use method to polish without soaking water because polishing to here does not get bare wood wet.

    Video is played when we click image

    Process 4: Device

    We acquire spot design on the completed groundwork. We use thing which device lacquer to use here kneads a mixture of color, bare black lacquer (suguromeurushi), egg white, and raised viscosity. We take lacquer to device seawife and touch spot design on the entire surface while swatting lightly. We spend the days to dry to the lacquered inside and dry slowly.

    Video is played when we click image

    Process 5: tokakari ke

    We perform brush coating of color lacquer on the dry device lacquer. We use strong color of comparison with device to be able to give device design clearly. It is common for black device that yellow lacquer is used.

    Process 6: Coloring

    Coloring means that we draw scattered-figure pattern with color lacquer to attach color to color of Tang coat. Vermilion and green are often used, and these are called both coloring. There is design peculiar to Tang coat that the same thing is exclusive by flyer of design.
    We paint with bare black lacquer of dark brown with transparence on the coloring and calm showy color development.

    Process 7: Wife coating

    It is wife coating to paint the entire surface with color lacquer uniformly thinly. We are used to have painted with bare black lacquer, and to sow tin powder.
    When we have begun to polish Tang coat design by wife coating, we border colour of the ground and border of design and produce effect to enhance design.

    Process 8: Advance coating

    In the Tang coat last who achieve advance coating, and paints with lacquer plaster, and is process. Brush coating does advance lacquer into thick pieces if possible.
    Tang coat is called red finish, black finish, pear finish (finish that there is no) by advance color.
    We paint, and various color lacquer is put on the device by past process, and there is layer of irregularities. Abstract design peculiar to Tang coat is shut in in this layer.

    Process 9: Polish

    At first we take irregularities roughly. After having dried in lacquer bath as lacquer of aspect that was begun to reduce is not dry enough, we begin to sharpen design. We stroke lacquer with the point same as advance coating and paint part which became dented (we release and paint) and do and wipe off lacquer of flat part.

    Video is played when we click image

    Process 10: We print breastplate (goaf which how about)

    We add oil dust which worked out dust in cloza oil to cloth and polish up repeatedly. We polish conventional grind trace neatly and take. As lacquer to paint the top with when oil content is left does not dry, we completely wipe off oil content. It is called "1,000 times (getting a head start) of koguri" from meaning to rub 1,000 times, and to improve.

    Video is played when we click image

    Process 11: ryoto ri (ryoshokuma comes)

    ryoto ritoiimasuga, the technique top are with ryoshokuma mushrooms in Tsugaru Nuri. ryoshokuurushi is lacquer for polishing. ryoshoku is said to be meaning to become skin which we polished with [roiro lacquer] that is wax (rou). We add ryoshokuurushi to charcoal and we polish by 3-4cm every direction and wipe and we polish and wipe and do and we polish the entire surface while painting, and seeing state of aspect and are completion.

    Video is played when we click image


  • Close-up

    Crystal Tsugaru Nuri of the beauty that creativity of artisan created

    When we paint with lacquer, we polish, and Tsugaru Nuri which repeats grind when we paint, and is completed features durability as we are not accompanied by imagination from beauty of the pattern. Durable Laquer Ware which thinks that we are used, and was made attaches color easy for in living.


    As Japanese northernmost lacquer technology

    Beginning of Tsugaru Nuri is done with thing by Genroku era craftsmen gathered a year (the from the end of 1600s to 1700s beginning) from the whole country in the times of tsukeihanshushimmatsurigotoko.
    In Tsugaru Nuri, four kinds of lacquer in various colors which described arabesque and Saaya type design in place of Tang coat characterized by unique spot design, seven child coat to drop rapeseed on the lacquer, and to provide form of egg (cry) of fish, figured silk gauze coat that let it sows powder of charcoal and polishes, and design of jet black emboss, seven child coat are representative.

    Solid Laquer Ware which repeats coating and grind, and is made

    Tsugaru Nuri is not only seemliness, and durability is big feature. We count from the groundwork and polish when we paint more than ten times and repeat grind when we paint. "We polish while changing whetstone every time when we polish." Takeji Iwatani that it is Tsugaru Nuri Master of Traditional Crafts society's chairperson to have talked so. It is Master of Traditional Crafts having issue of gosan. "These stones were produced in hometown in Tsugaru. This stone joined technique together. It is important stone not to take in outside area." It is simple studio which only formed a line in room with a wooden floor with tool. It is hard to believe at a glance that that beautiful Laquer Ware is born from here. However, it came to be felt that it was just right so as to hear story so that this homeliness pursued the skill.
    If "we have you use, Tsugaru Nuri understands good point. We regain luster again if we polish a little even if color is discolored." He/she showed work of grind while saying so. Design that it did not show appeared so far when we polished.


    Design of leaf appeared when we polished tea ark of one side red

    Feelings to tool to make good thing

    Tsugaru Nuri which we begin to polish using local stone. Finally, we polish using charcoal and give luster. Feelings to tool extend to writing brush representing design. When "design of this seven child uses common writing brush, hair is caught on lacquer and is sharp immediately. It is mustache of mouse that is the best. It is writing brush which this catches mouse in the back and made." Homemade tools such as device kebe ra to add design of lacquer brush and Tang coat to other than one's own writing brush when we open tool chest line up.

    Tang coat design of this stand was drawn in this device kebe ra, too

    It join the history of Laquer Ware together now to use

    It "was said that it was, "Tsugaru Nuri is weak" at the time of exhibition." We do not think of robustness to be words said for Tsugaru Nuri of selling in comparison with other Laquer Ware. However, consideration seemed to be not enough for how to use somehow or other when we heard well. "We could just enter, and refrigerator seemed to crack. The refrigerator dries forcibly. It is cruel environment to lacquer." Besides, it is said that it is only trouble that is avoided if we know some how to handle including story that we have bet on microwave oven. There seems to be occasionally nice talk while there are many people treating Laquer Ware for disposable tool sense. "We might have you call out saying it was saying "we use Tsugaru Nuri" from girl of high school student. We seemed to learn the way of care on seeing what grandmother used. Because it is Tsugaru Nuri to be usable by little trouble for dozens of years." It is word to feel like that whether it is possible for living that, in fact, we are richer, and is calm if there is little consideration for furniture.

    We spend time and make use of the position in the skill

    Aomori where Tohoku is the northernmost part is not blessed so with work. It is said that person working in the dangerous workplace has many people of Aomori. "We avoid that the present person spends time and wears the skill in hand. Tsugaru Nuri is good work, but may acquire nothing to work for a long time when going to make money quickly after all." Body has inconvenient place about Iwatani by nature, but we wear the skill of artisan and come to be known for effort of person 1 time as craftsman representing Tsugaru now. It is said that there are many visitors coming to find work of Iwatani directly. "It leads to confidence if we acquire job." We overcome handicap by effort and collect respect. Good point that person who did the best is respected is in the world of craftsman.

    Posture that takes in good thing

    Even if Tsugaru Nuri is technique of the tip, we take in positively if it is good thing. We use new material wood ceramics developed in japanner part of Aomori industry examination room in neighborhood for base of figured silk gauze coat and succeed in giving tolerance for heat and abrasion that were weak point of Laquer Ware.

    True good point is beautiful Laquer Ware that it is revealed in being used that we hid strength that takes to mouse, and was brought up using local whetstone with hiba produced in hometown as bare wood in the northernmost ground of Michinoku where winter cold is severer as for the Tsugaru Nuri made with what we develop to new material at local research institute inward.

    Craftsman profile

    Takeji Iwatani

    "Photograph has better place where the sun hits if we take." Iwatani who masters material in nature. We hear the word "sun" naturally, too.


    We try to compare chemical paint with lacquer

    In late years people whom chemical substance hypersensitivity that allergic reaction happens to a very small amount of chemical substance develops in increase. At first, we touch extremely a very small amount of chemical substance and breathe, and symptom appears even if alright when it develops once. Because general paint is made with oil as raw materials, we cause chemical substance hypersensitivity. In addition, thinner used as solvent attacks nerve of person.
    On the other hand, when lacquer tree touches at the age of liquid, we wake up rash by urushiol which is lacquered chief ingredient, but become harmless when we dry. Besides, as for being used, it is most moving passage retemonikaburenikukunarimasu to lacquer.
    When harm reviews decreasing lacquer at point of view of harmony with health of person so as to use with chemical paint which causes allergy and poisoning symptom so as to use, good point of thing which continued being used after time feels like it being revealed some other time.

    • Import things increased, but lacquer was originally gathered in hometown



Industrial art object name Tsugaru Nuri
Phonetic symbol We paint with Tsugaru
Classification of industrial art object Laquer Ware
Main product Furniture, tatami-room table, tea set, tableware, box for letters, trays, inkstone case, chopsticks, vase
Main production area Aomori / Aomori-shi, Hirosaki-shi, Kuroishi-shi, Fukaura-machi, Nishitsugaru-gun, Fujisaki-machi, Minamitsugaru-gun, Ogamicho, Kitatsugaru-gun Hill Yanagimachi
The designation date May 10, 1975

Contact information

■local production associations

Association of Aomori Laquer Ware cooperative association society
Hirosaki-shi, Aomori 2-4-9, Jinden
Hirosaki-shi Kyoto Museum of Traditional Industry
TEL: 0172-35-3629
FAX: 0172-35-3629

■Associated exhibit space, facility


Tsugaru Nuri is the northernmost traditional Laquer Ware of our country which has been made around Hirosaki, Aomori. Only by handicraft which overflowed for warmth and moisture is tasteful. As for "the figured silk gauze coat (monshanuri) that feeling that is modern mat black ground "nanako coat" to do of feeling that small Fumi is smart like pattern of fine pattern of kimono bitterly does," various types of technique is characteristics.

Made primarily in Hirosaki, Aomori Prefecture, Tsugaru nuri represents the northern extremity of Japan’s lacquering tradition. The pieces possess the rich warmth found in all exceptional hand-made crafts. There are many styles of Tsugaru lacquering, from the chic style of Nanako-nuri lacquering, with a fine pattern that reminds one of Komon stencil painted kimonos, to the austere modern style of Monsha-nuri lacquering, which features a dark black matte finish.

How to make

Tsugaru Nuri finishes tree of hiba after approximately 50 processes to basis material. We complete cloth to bare wood and make the basics of durable Laquer Ware with the lacquer groundwork. We paint this top with color lacquer and repeat stack, grind. Finally we polish up using good-quality lacquer from Japan carefully and make up solid, elegant coating.

Starting with the raw material of Japanese cypress, it requires approximately 50 steps to produce a Tsugaru lacquered product. The wooden base is covered with a cloth, and the base preparation is made for lacquering, which is essential to produce a durable product. Next, the colored lacquer is applied in countless layers, with many steps of polishing. In the final step, high quality lacquer produced in Japan is applied as a top coat, and assiduously polished to produce a long lasting product of exceptional beauty.