Guided by the Ancient Spirit of Japan
The Yotsukawa family forges its legacy through cast iron kettles and incense burners.
Each of Kisendo’s cast iron kettles and incense burners is handmade over the course of months by at least five master artisans in Takaoka, Japan. These artisans use ancient techniques with designs rooted in wabi-sabi, an ancient Japanese principle that cherishes the “aesthetic imperfection” of nature.
These masters spend decades perfecting their one skill to ensure that their part in creating the final product is flawless.
“When you hand your work to the next artisan, if your work isn’t complete or isn’t perfect then it will affect the person who will work on the product after you. So the artisans will make sure that their work is absolutely perfect,” says Susumu Yotsukawa, third-generation owner of Kisendo.
“By machine, you can’t really express the fine artistic lines and details. [Our craftsmanship] just needs to be done by hand,” he says.
A traditional metalworking town
The town of Takaoka was founded in 1609 by ruler Maeda Toshinaga, who brought seven master metalworkers to the site with the intention of making the sparsely populated town a thriving place for the art form. Four centuries later, Takaoka is recognized as a Japan Heritage site, a symbol of national pride and artisanal excellence.