Inami ChokokuInami Woodcarving

When carpenter of Inami who had extremely high technique rebuilt the main hall of a Buddhist temple of temple destroyed by fire in middle part in the 18th century, it is done with opening that we were informed by order engraver dispatched from Kyoto technique of sculpture.
We ran sculpture simultaneously with carpenter in the early days, and temple sculpture accounted for most of the work. When it was the Meiji era, we came to assume sculpture primary occupation, and product for public such as house ranma was devised.

When the highly skilled carpenters of Inami were rebuilding the main worship hall at Zuizenji temple after it had been destroyed by a fire in the middle of the 18th century, some woodcarvers with official patronage were dispatched from Kyoto to help with the work and it is thought that the carving techniques they passed on to the local carpenters marked the beginnings of woodcarving here.
At first the Inami carpenters did both carpentry and woodcarving, mainly doing pieces of carving for temples. By the Meiji period (1868-1912), however, specialist woodcarvers had immerged and they began to produce items of a more general nature including transom for domestic housing.

The principal timbers now used are camphor (Cinnamonum Camphora), zelkova (Zelkova serrata) and paulownia (Paulownia Sieb. et Zucc.). When making a transom, they carve from both sides to produce a deep relief effect which is often cut right through and use a variety of motifs including birds, flowers, people and landscape. This form of traditional carving requires a high degree of skill and using upward of 200 different chisels and woodcarving knives, they complete pieces of breath-taking intricacy and beauty.

  • Notification

    skills and techniques

    When is in ranma, thing by the next technique or technique.

    "You anticipate and take" and "spill ornamental border" and thin oshita, and do carving with deep carving.

    Finish is thing by "relief" and "flesh carving" "line carving".

    Thickness of board to use is 45 millimeters of things.

    When is to ornament, thing by the next technique or technique.

    Use chisel and chisel for carving.

    Finish assumes "crepe carving".

    When you engrave humped-head goldfish, you integrate upper jaw and lower jaw, and separate each at cutting groove, "small carving" stage.

    When engrave Tenjin, thing by any of the following.

    When you are in Tenjin of "it shines and is fired", integrate head and copper after cutting groove, final stage of carving according to each.

    After carving head and trunk together, and having been crowded when it is in other Tenjin, do final stage of carving.

    When is on "the amount of wooden sculpture" and screen, thing by the next technique or technique.

    "Anticipate, and take" carving or "spill ornamental border"; thing by oshita openwork or "relief."

    Finish is thing by "flesh carving" and "crepe carving" "relief" "line carving".

    Raw materials

    When we do with ranma, "amount of wooden sculpture" and "screen" material which has materials which are equal to kusu or zelkova or these when we look good, and there is to ornament, do raw wood with kusu, zelkova or drill or material having materials which are equal to these.

  • Work scenery

    Process 1: Sketch

    We draw sketch on materials. It is almost decided at this time where you begin to carve place to carve and place not to carve, place to let you penetrate and place that does not let you do in spite of being thought from.

    Process 2: The rough end

    At first we dig out place to let you penetrate using coping saws.

    Process 3: Rough last joke

    We cut off unnecessary part using coping saw and chisel roughly. We can always go ahead while understanding figure at the time of completion while being careful not to drop too much.

    Video is played when we click image

    Process 4: Rough carving

    We carve using chisel and chisel more finely. Outline is almost decided.

    Process 5: Final stage of carving

    We carve in relief with keen-edged chisel and chisel neatly. We finish delicate curve or the smooth surface. Soul is finally inspired sculpture with by this work.


  • Close-up

    Wooden sculpture Inami Chokoku which is left 100 years later

    Sculpture technology of ranma expressing the world with infinite depth to one piece of board having only slight thickness is technique to be able to boast of to not only Japan but also the world. We had craftsman who inherited the technique talk from encounter with one of Inami Chokoku.


    As for Yoshio Nomura, both birth and the breeding are towns of Inami. Father was craftsman who made guardian deity of children or grave. There are many sculpture shops in neighborhood, and it is said that we see work of wooden sculpture close since it was small and were brought up. Nomura saying, "we thought whether you work as carpenter naturally all too soon, or you engrave" graduates from junior high school and enters the world of sculpture immediately and thereafter continues carving tree every day for 52 years. What "did not suffer for ten years to become full-fledged, and Nomura worked in origin of of boss for approximately 30 years though acquired technique to make thing in five years", and became independent at the age of 47 years old. We carve anything depending on ranma and wooden sculpture panel, Tenjin, order including humped-head goldfish. Profundity of Inami Chokoku had a glimpse for these words and got "is it the 54-55-year-old time that confidence became able to last for own work?".

    "Old tool is cool"

    Only as for the thing with tool all term of service of Nomura. Above all, chisel which we bought for the first time by oneself shortens as if we say "koredemoka". Thing slight as for the length of the knife decreasing by one grind. We understand how you embezzle when you think about it. Whetstone uses natural thing and that embezzles and becomes considerably thin. "Old tool may be cooler. We felt good in the whole and made various tools look although this curve should be clean. We are just surprised at the number of chisels coming out of next next. It is said that 200 are worthless only with chisel. Most of the small planes are own work. All kinds of chisels and planes are necessary to begin to carve every form. Though "we take good care of tool which we got from boss than thing which we bought by oneself," craftsman soul of Inami Chokoku may be inherited through tool.

    Tool that only this was embezzled is right a part of the hand

    Tree of 100 years lasts for 100 years

    As for the materials to use for sculpture, zelkova and kusu are often found. "It was clogged up, and, as for the zelkova, (smooth thing) is suitable for sculpture of eyes. It is kusu to be easy to carve most. But we do not go when kusu is not careful from (twisted) to treat to, words come back from next next though "Taiwanese kusu is soft when we ask materials which I do not smell such as Japanese kusu". Work that is important for reading habit of tree. It is felt that there are confidence and pride for dozens of years and words of Nomura whom we remained. "Tree of 100 years lasts for 100 years. All the work of Nomura who is said so from old days is certainly things to be able to boast of even 100 years later. We intend to deliver the work to descendant 100 years later and want to have one at hand.

    Album which various sculptures which we dealt with so far were put in

    It is still studied

    When we saw, as for ranma sculpture, depth is carved most by human eyes when we put ranma in building that is diagonal bottom so that it is felt. The technique to express to overlap with several folds can be right called act of God. The technique is applied to panel and statue except ranma. Dragon or the flowers and birds bright moon and cool breezes are carved, but expression appears on panel wealthily because we are carved so that delicate shadow appears. We often carve humped-head goldfish and Tenjin and Buddha statue with statue. Nomura carved Buddha statue on that day. Data for the study of Buddha statue opened on the side of "we became good afterwards even if we could make thing or are up to the person whether it did not become" Nomura. We do not forget posture to still learn that became 67 years old. Work will be full of life simply because it is such a creator as if life was recorded.


    Buddha statue or Tenjin carve any place other than the ranma of openwork, too

    Craftsman profile

    Yoshio Nomura (irregularity gives up)

    It was born in 1933.
    Master of Traditional Crafts which lecturer of Inami tree sculpture industrial arts high vocational school acted as. Favorite liquor "Tateyama."


    About tree used for Inami Chokoku

    As for the tree used in Inami Chokoku, zelkova and kusu are often found. It is said that thing which was clogged up (is smooth) of eyes is suitable for sculpture about zelkova in particular. Aged tree, it which case that zelkovas that this eye was jam-packed are often found put age on become thing age of a tree 200 through 300 or more. Generally, tree is because distance of annual ring becomes dense as we get old.
    One which is good for sculpture use does not have gnarl less in that either. Zelkova meeting such a condition is very precious. As a matter of course, material cost rises. As craftsmen are sufficient, and they understand it, we carve with soul for net net of chisel and are crowded. While hoping that this work continues being used until 100 years.

    • Zelkova that eye was jam-packed is used willingly

    • Soul can be crowded to one one of them of chisel



Industrial art object name Inami Chokoku
Phonetic symbol We deny, and butterfly is thick
Classification of industrial art object Woodcraft, Bamboo Craftwork
Main product Ornament, screen, panels such as ranma, Tenjin, humped-head goldfish
Main production area Toyama / Tonami-shi, Nanto-shi
The designation date May 10, 1975

Contact information

■local production associations

Inami Chokoku cooperative association
733, Kitagawa, Nanto-shi, Toyama
The Inami Chokoku synthesis hall
TEL: 0763-82-5158
FAX: 0763-82-5163

■Associated exhibit space, facility


We give "watermarks deep carving" about scenery, flowers and birds, person as materials with tree of camphor tree zelkova drill from both sides. It is traditional tree sculpture with high technique to make full use of more than 200 chisels and chisels.

Woods such as camphor, zelkova, and paulownia are used, carved on both sides with landscapes, flowers and birds, people, and more in a technique called "sukashi-fukabori". Skilled artisans use over 200 different chisels and carving blades to execute the traditional wood carvings.

How to make

In the case of ranma, we use sawing that dried raw wood more than several months. We paint in wood from design making and we adjust useless rectified sake after wild last joke, rough carving, final stage of carving, frame charge account and are completed.

Transoms are carved using wood that has been dried for several months. From creating the design, to sketching it on the wood, to roughing out the design, rough carving, finishing, and framing, everything is done before final corrections are made and the piece is complete.

Voice from production center

Please be careful about * (person) ru, import of imitations ranma in "Inami Chokoku".

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