Resonating with the soul of the craftsman “Lacquer Painter, Nobuyuki Kumazaki”

Resonating with the soul of the craftsman
"Lacquer Painter, Nobuyuki Kumazaki"


Using crystal clear lacquer “Hida Shunkei Nuri”

Hida Shunkei Nuri is lacquer art created by 2 craftsmen over 400 years ago.
When master carpenter Kizaemon Takahashi was creating a tray to present to Shigechika Kanamori, the elder brother of the lord of the time Arishige Kanamori, he created a tray in the shape of a clam shell with the beautiful grain of sawara cypress wood. Then, lacquer painter San-emon Narita painted the tray with clear lacquer to bring out the beauty of the wood grain.
This is how “”Shunkei”” came to be.

The name “”Shunkei”” was given by Arishige Kanamori because the bowl presented to the lord’s brother had a color similar to the tea pot “”Tobi Shunkei”” made by master craftsman Koremasa Kato.
Nakata visited the workshop of lacquer painter Nobuyuki Kumazaki, and chatted with him while Kumazaki applied lacquer to a piece. The feature of “”Shunkei-nuri”” is to bring out the beauty of the wood grain, and apply clear lacquer to achieve the amber color. It is simple, and the strength of the piece is quite impressive.

Experiencing lacquer coating

Given a chance to apply lacquer himself, Nakata made the mistake of applying too much lacquer initially.
Nevertheless, he somehow finished, and gave it a second try after reviewing the steps with Kumazaki. On his second attempt, a lot of dust got stuck on the surface. A paintbrush for Japanese style paintings are used to remove the dust. Sometimes it takes more time to remove the dust than to paint, explained Kumazaki.

What is the secret of the beauty of Shunkei-nuri? Early in its history, many simple things like trays and low individual dining tables were made. More complex items were made toward the Meiji period, such as lacquer boxes and water pitchers for tea ceremonies. Since then, craftsmen tried to out do each other by developing new products.
Woodworkers think that the beauty is in the wood grain, so they take extra care when working with the plane. Painters believe that it is up to them to be able to bring out the true beauty of the wood grain, thus concentrating on their part of the process. A unique lacquerware passed on in the Hida region. It is a “”kogei”” that exemplifies the beauty of nature and the passion of the craftsmen.


Lacquer Painter Nobuyuki Kumazaki
3-187 Oshinmachi, Takayama City, Gifu Prefecture