Nakagawa Mokkogei Hira Kobo
Nakagawa Mokkogei Hira Kobo uses high quality domestic wood and the traditional bucket making technique to make utensils for daily use and vessels for entertaining.
Buckets are made by combining several shaved pieces of wood, tightening them with a tag, and balancing them with a tensioned bottom.
Until about 40 years ago, every household used several buckets as indispensable tools for Japanese people's daily life. At Nakagawa Mokkogei, they offer buckets that fit the modern lifestyle while maintaining the traditional techniques.
Nakagawa Mokkogei was established independently from the long-established bucket shop "Tarugen" in Kyoto, where the founder worked as an apprentice.
However, wooden buckets were used in daily life in Japan at that time, such as Ohitsu for rice and Yuoke for bathing, but later, as industrialization progressed and plastic products, which were easier to handle and cheaper, rose to prominence, wooden buckets almost disappeared from daily life.
Seiji, the second generation, has elevated the wooden bucket from an everyday utensil to a craft and art object, creating trays that bring out the beautiful grain of the wood by combining wood pieces with each other, developing a technique that overturns the basic structure of the bucket, and producing many "wood painting" boxes designed by combining more than 1,000 pieces of wood. Seiji was certified as a national holder of Important Intangible Cultural Asset in 2002.
At the same time, Shuji, the third generation, became independent and left Kyoto to open "Nakagawa Mokkogei Hira Kobo" in Shiga, Japan. Shuji sought a way to make the buckets available for daily and global use. Without changing the structure of the buckets, he has presented designs and uses adapted to modern lifestyles. Collaborations with renowned designers have also been created. Champagne coolers and stools are now highly acclaimed overseas.
Shiga Prefecture, where Nakagawa Mokkougei Hira Kobo is located, has different characteristics from east to west, north to south, with Lake Biwa, the largest lake in Japan, at its center. The lake and mountains are close together in the Kosai area where the Hira Kobo is located, and the sunrise from Lake Biwa and the sunset over the Hira mountain range provide a dynamic and beautiful view.
Although it is only 3-40 minutes away from Kyoto, the area is rich in nature and produces rice and other agricultural products.
1968 Born in Kyoto City
1992 Graduated from Kyoto Seika University, Faculty of Fine Arts
Studied under his father Seiji (Important Intangible Cultural Property holder) upon graduation.
2010 Produced a champagne cooler for a world-famous champagne maker
2011 Exhibited at the Salone del Mobile in Milan (Forio Salone) and several times thereafter
2012 Exhibited at Maison & Object (Paris) and several times since
2012 Participated in the traditional craft unit “GOON"
2015 Solo exhibition at L'ESPRIT D'ARTISAN, Paris
2016 KI-OKE STOOL becomes part of the permanent collection of the V&A Museum (London)
2017 KI-OKE STOOL becomes part of the permanent collection of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris
2017 Loewe Craft Prize finalist selection
2021 Japan Japanese Culture Grand Prix awarded (as a workshop)
2021 Awarded the 13th Creating Traditions Prize