Sunday, March 8, 2009

ひのきの里の技能祭 - Craftsmanship Fair in Kiso


The region Kiso is almost 4 hours away from Tokyo, surrounded by high mountains, and famous for cypress. In the town of Agematsu, they have a prefectural training school of specialized skills (Gijutsu-Senmon-Kou) for people aiming to be furniture and woodwork craftsman. Their curriculum is 1-year boarding for about 30 students, and in this time of the year, they organize an event to display each student’s major achievements. As I learned that there would be several replication practice of well-known European design furniture this year, I decided to visit this Fair. The students range in the beginning, like jewels and pebbles, from novice starters to relatively experienced craftsmen challenging higher hurdles, but it is quite amazing to see that they all generally have achieved skills to handcraft the furniture in this level in a year, and I felt more confident with the quality of Japanese hands despite the declining business in this area. The event was dense with more than 300 visitors to buy the furniture.

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