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Pioneer of Kumiko Craft ”Sakae Tategu Kogei  Eiichi Yokota”

Pioneer of Kumiko Craft
”Sakae Tategu Kogei Eiichi Yokota”

DATA
Sakai Tategu Kogei Eiichi Yokota
615 Shinonoi Yokota, Nagano City, Nagano Prefecture

Excellent technique in ”Kumiko craft”

Sunlight poured into the Japanese-style room. When the sunlight passes through the shoji screen, it filters the sun’s ray and softens the harshness. Kumiko craft projects its delicate pattern in the sunlight. Kumiko craft is a decoration where small pieces of wood are combined to make beautiful patterns on transoms, partitions, ”shoji” screens, and sliding paper doors. Wood pieces are combined just like a puzzle, and no nails or glue are used.

Eiichi Yokota is a master of Kumiko craft. He was born in the family of furniture craftsman in Komoro, Nagano, and from 16, he worked as a live-in at the house of his master for 8 years to receive training as a fittings workman. However, he realized that ”If I were to keep working for a long time, I need another outstanding skill”, and so he acquired the skill of Kumiko. At that time, nobody thought it was possible to make a living just by Kumiko craftwork. Nevertheless, Yokota became a Kumiko craftsman and established Sakae Tategu Kogei at the age of 25. Since then, he has established the Kumiko craft market and attained great success. He is the pioneer of the Kumiko craft industry. He has been devotedly working as a Kumiko craftsman ever since.

It all depends on how wood pieces are combined

At first, he received orders for work from joinery colleagues, but eventually as his skill became widely known, he started to undertake work from inns and restaurants. Gradually, work for general houses and repair work for Important National Properties like Zenkoji and Matsushiro Castle started to come in. He is a true master craftsman who has received the Prime Minister Award 4 times at National Furniture Exhibition. He was also awarded a Medal with Yellow Ribbon from the Cabinet Office.

At the workshop, Yokota let us see the work which received the above mentioned awards and some other pieces in progress. He explained how to combine the wood pieces.
Nakata was able to experience Kumiko crafting. Small pieces of cypress and lacquer trees are combined and put in the frame. The fitted pieces are adjusted further by using small forceps. This adjustment makes a difference to the beauty of the completed work.

New representation with Jindai Sugi

Yokota is always pursuing new ways to present Kumiko crafts. One of these attempts is using Jindai Sugi, which is blackened by being buried in the soil. By using different colors of wood, he is trying to add new features to his craft.

He is always questioning himself – what is the technique the current world is looking for?

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