”Kuroda Shogen, Hishaku Craftsman” Creates Dippers for Tea Ceremony Dedicated to the Senke

”Kuroda Shogen, Hishaku Craftsman”
Creates Dippers for Tea Ceremony Dedicated to the Senke

Senkejisshoku, Supports the History of Tea Ceremony

The name, ”Kuroda Shogen” is one of the names listed in the ”Senke jisshoku” which refers to the 10 chosen craftsman families that contribute to the making of tea ceremony tools for the Sansenke. Kuroda Shogen is the family responsible for creating spoons, dippers, daisu (shelf for tea tools), kogo (container for incense) all tools made by bamboo, related to tea ceremony. Today we visited Kuroda Shogen the 13th. The first Kuroda Shogen had become a bamboo craftsman after the battle of Sekigahara. He had been appointed bamboo craftsman for the Edo government by recommendation of Kobori Enshu. The name has lived on for more than 400 years.

Cutting the Bamboo, Giving it Life

We first take a look at the bamboo. The bamboo in stock were all different in size and length. At Kuroda Shogen’s studio, the bamboo is cut and selected by the master himself. The bamboo is then dried and smoked with coal to extract the oil. Later it is dried under the sun and once it turns a whitish color, it is stored in the warehouse for 4 to 5 years. The bamboo is prepared and is ready after this process. The bamboo neatly lined up in the warehouse seemed as though they were waiting for the master, Kuroda Shogen to breathe life into them. Nakata was given a chance to create a tea dipper. The curve by the handle is made by wading it in water, then bending it by heating with a lamp. The shaving is done by using a sharp knife, the blade stronger than the hard bamboo. The apprentices also give Nakata a hand and as he concentrates, he realizes he shaved too much off, making it off balance. He takes a deep breath to give it another try.

Tea dipper Reflects the Creator’s Character

“Tea dippers reflect the creator’s character. People with bold character tend to create a wide fat dipper, while a sensitive person would create a narrow thin one. Nakata, why don’t you try making a wider dipper?” Kuroda Shogen gives Nakata advice. In the beginning, the master stood by Nakata and looked on, but soon he started to work himself. Eventually the sound of the 2 shaving the bamboo filled the studio. Inheriting the tradition and the skills, and then handing it down to the next generation. The title ”Kuroda Shogen” includes 400 years worth of history and tradition.


Kuroda Shogen, Hishaku Craftsman