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Japanese Craftsmanship

December 09, 2016

The craftsmanship of Japanese artisans is extraordinary - a fact known to many but one that has become more apparent to me through first hand experience. Last month, Discover Tenkara featured my article about Yamano-san, and his bamboo fishing rod craftsmanship. Then a few weeks later Jason Klass at Tenkara Talk featured my article "Kado-san's Christmas Kebari" about Kado-san's shokuryoshi like kebari.

So, in the same vein of Japanese craftsmanship, I am sharing some more exquisite Japanese craftsmanship that I have discovered recently.

I recommend watching this about Miya Shoji a Japanese carpenter who moved to New York City to perfect his carpentry. It is a fascinating video and well worth watching imo.

Hitoshi Kondo-san

Hitoshi Kondo-san

Hitoshi Kondo-san is second from the left (holding the white plastic bag).

I met Kondo-san on a Wakasagi fishing trip to Sagamiko last month. He struck me as very quiet and humble but at the end of the day we ended up taking the same train and I got to know him better. He lives north of Tokyo near Kamikawa, where he lives a simple life so that he can focus on his passion - Japanese bamboo basket making. He has dedicated his life to making some absolutely beautiful baskets. He claims that he is still learning but to me his baskets do not look like they can get any better!

A Japanese basket filled with rice An empty Japanese basket

Toshiaka Kado-san

Hand made stained glass

Kado-san displaying his artwork in front of his shop. He also made the stained glass panels behind him.

Kado-san has become a very good friend of mine but he is also a man of many secrets. I knew him for over a year before I found out he makes stained glass. His artwork is displayed throughout his store located not to far from my home.

A work of art in progress

His glasswork shop also doubles as his fly tying station.

When my wife and I eventually return to the United States we are looking forward to incorporating his beautiful stained glass into the tiny home we hope to build for our growing family. Not only will the beauty inspire us everyday but it will remind us of the wonderful experiences we had when we lived in the Land of the Rising Sun...

Trout Bros How the stained glass art is made

Every time I hold a piece of Japanese craftsmanship, whether it be a hand carved wooden pen from a Post Town or even a bamboo bait fishing basket, I am drawn to the attention to detail and pride the worker exhibits in their craft. The self-respect, patience, and skill that they exhibit in their work is certainly a breath of fresh air. Some things never change or go out of style, and for that I am grateful.

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Written by Isaac Tait who now lives in San Diego but dreams of returning, one day, to Japan. You should follow him on Twitter