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About us

Masakazu Ishihara Lacquer Art Factory is specialized in producing fine lacquer art pieces using the Choshitsu and the Tsuishitsu techniques. His works are deeply rooted in the traditional Japanese craftsmanship but also representing the modern way of life. Through his work, Masakazu Ishihara aims to modernize traditional Japanese lacquerware while conserving its historical essence.

Born in Takamatsu, Kagawa.
Graduates from the Urushi Arts Craft Institute of Kagawa,
Becomes an apprentice to Kodo OTOMARU (The first Individual recognition of important intangible cultural property for Choshitsu technique)
Work accepted at the 29th Japanese Traditional Arts exhibition.
Designated as an important intangible cultural property of Kagawa for Choshitsu technique.
Takamatsu Board of Education Award at the 68th Kagawa Fine Art Crafts Exhibition.
Japan Art Crafts Association Award at the 20th Japanese Traditional Urushi Arts Exhibition.
Takamatsu Board of Education Award at the 68th Kagawa Fine Art Crafts Exhibition.
Incentive Award at the 51st Japanese Traditional Art Crafts Exhibition.
Takamatsu-City Incentive Award of Culture.
Kagawa Governor’s Award at the 71st Kagawa Fine Art Crafts Exhibition.
Celebrating Fifty Years Award of the Japan Traditional Art Crafts Exhibition of Shikoku. 
Commissioner for Cultural Affairs Award at the 27th Japanese Traditional Urushi Arts Exhibition.
1st Kagawa Prefectural Traditional Crafts Matsudaira public interest Association Award
Designated as an important intangible cultural property of Kagawa for Choshitsu technique.
Special Award of the Japan Traditional Art Crafts Exhibition of Shikoku.
Marugame Board of Education Award at the 80th Kagawa Fine Art Crafts Exhibition.
Asahi Shimbun Award at the 33rd Japanese Traditional Urushi Arts Exhibition.
Governor of Kagawa Award at the 83th Kagawa Fine Art Crafts Exhibition.
Individual recognition of important intangible cultural property of Kagawa
Member of the Japan Art Crafts Association
Lecturer of the Urushi Arts Craft Institute of Kagaw

What’s New

Please visit us in AbuDhabi

We are going to exhibit our works in the AbuDhabi international hunting & equestrian exhibition (ADIHEX from August 27th. to the 31st. 2019. 

Under the theme of “Majlis & Japan”, we will show our fine lacquer works in the AbuDhabi national exhibition centre. Please visit us!


What is URUSHI

the most ancient and biodegradable plastic known to man

Urushi is Japanese for the lacquer. The word “lacquer” derives from the ancient Persian word “lak”, meaning a resinous substance secreted by certain insects. In the West, “lacquer” is considered to be a finish formed by dissolving resin in a solvent to dry  by evaporating

In contrast, Japanese lacquer, Urushi, is derived from the non resinous sap of the Rhus verliciflua tree (also known as the urushi tree) . Urushi is not dry; it thickens through a process called polymerization of enzyme reaction. Once rigid, it is impregnable by most solvents, but it can be damaged by direct sunlight. Japanese lacquerware can be durable when it is taken care of properly.   

Thus Urushi is recognized as the most ancient industrial plastic known to man. However, unlike modern plastic, Japanese lacquer is completely biodegradable. 

Urushi has been used for more than six thousand years in Japan, and it is loved for its strength, usefulness and beauty.

The Japanese aristocracy used Urushi in their architecture,  furniture and accessories.

The samurai, Japanese warrior, used Urushi in the decoration of their swords, armors and helmets.

Nowadays Urushi is mainly used for Japanese cuisine tableware and tea ceremony utensils.  It is continuously appreciated its unique beauty and for being environmentally friendly.

What is Choshitsu

Choshitsu is the most sculptural decoration techniques of the Japanese lacquer crafting. By coating colored lacquer many times on the undercoatings, a lacquer layer for carving is made.  One hundred of coatings make 3mm thickness. Decorative designs are carved on the layer. Distinctive beauty is revealed by the varying the depth of the carving. The attraction of this technique is the three-dimensional effect and the color harmony.

Originally, products of this technique were imported from China in the 14th century. The production of Choshitsu in Japan has begun during the Edo period by Zokoku Tamakaji in Kagawa under the patronage of the regional lord. Thereby, the Kagawa prefecture has been recognised as a center of this lacquer  techniques.

What is Tsuishitsu

Tsuishitsu is a stack of many layers of  colored lacquer. One hundreds and twenty layers make a 5mm thickness. Each Tsuishitsu has its own harmonious pattern of color.

The angle of the carving determines the design of the multi-colored stripes.  

These Tsuishitsu pieces can be stacked and inlaid make various things. You can see it in the stem of the SHIMA cups and on the surface of the small chests.

Majlis in Japan

Majlis means “sitting place” in Arabic.

When we heard this beautiful word, we remembered the Japanese “zashiki”. “Za” means to sit, and “shiki” refers to the Tatami-mats. “Zashiki” is a room where  a host meets with guests and spends a good time with them.  We can find many types of “Majlis” all over the world.

In Japan, the “Shoin” and the “Chasitsu” are good examples. Both of them were developed from the 14th century. “Shoin” has been a prototype of the Japanese architecture until now. It consists of a “zashiki”, the “tokonoma”(an alcove for interior decoration) and the garden. “Chasitsu” is specialized for the tea ceremony and it is usually small.

Japanese “Majlis” are highly of Biophilic design. Almost all of the materials used to construct it are natural. The decoration in the “Tokonoma” is changed every season and expresses the passing of nature.

Majlis with japan

The word japan also means a lacquer craft itself. We can find many japans in the old Japanese maj-lis.
In terms ofarchitecture, lacquer coats the wood of the floor and the walls to make them strong and waterproof. It also bonds gold foils to walls (You can see it in Kinkakuji in Kyoto) and sliding screens.
The “Tokonoma”(an alcove for interior decora-tion) of Japanese Majlis is often decorated with“japan”. A KOUGOU (an incense box) and a TEBAKO (a box of stationary) are popular items of decor.
Additionally, during the tea ceremonies, we can find many Urushi items. The tea container and the tea scoop are usually made with Urushi.

Our Majlis

We have a small Majlis in our factory. Its roof is mede of glass and the windows are facing the garden. We can feel the strength of sunshine, the phasing of the moon, and hear the sounds of rain while sitting in there. Our Urushi items harmonize with the atmosphere in the Majlis by adding a finishing touch to it. We are going to spend very good times with our family, friends and customers in here.

7th Floor, 2 Pinfold Street, The Balance, SHEFFIELD, South Yorkshire, S1 2GU, United Kingdom