Why Satsuma Kiriko is not a traditional craft
The reason why Satsuma Kiriko is not a traditional craft.
Because the term “tradition craft” is used to refer to more than one type of craft, there is some confusion about its meaning.
We would like to explain about those “traditional craft”.
Although “traditional craft” is used broadly to refer to a general type of product, there are also “prefecturally-designated traditional crafts” which are unique to certain prefectures and have been made continuously for a specified amount of time.
According to the Act on the Promotion of Traditional Craft Industries (Act No.57, May 25, 1974), he Minister for Economy, Trade and Industry can designate certain crafts as National Traditional Crafts.
The summary of the Act
These are the products that are commonly used on a daily basis, are mainly handcrafted using traditional techniques which have been practiced for more than one hundred years, and are made from materials which have been used in such for more than one hundred years. These productions are also made in particular regions.
These traditional craft products can include the following:
Textiles, dyed fabric, ceramics, lacquer ware, wood work, bamboo work, metal work, Buddhist altar, Buddhist alter fittings, Japanese paper, stationary, stone crafts, dolls, folk toys, folding fans, fans, traditional Japanese umbrellas, lanterns, Japanese musical instruments, ritual articles, articles for congratulation or condolence, craft tools, and craft materials.
The Association for the Promotion of Traditional Craft Industries
The association was established as a foundation, with grants from the nation of Japan, local government, and the union or the group of each production area in order to promote traditional industries, as set forth in the “Law for the Promotion of Traditional Craft Industries”
Following the regulations of the Association for the Promotion of Traditional Craft Industries, trademarks or certificate labels are created for authentic traditional crafts.
In other words, “traditional crafts” is a generic term. There are also “prefectually-designated traditional crafts.” The only difference is which organization designates or certifies the craft.
Some crafts that are industrially mass produced with inauthentic tools and materials are referred to as traditional crafts, but they lack the authenticity of genuine traditional crafts.
Japan Traditional Crafts Aoyama Square operates a website on which traditional crafts are offered for sale. These crafts are certified with trademarks, certificate labels, or the phrase, “designated by the Minister for Economy, Trade, and Industry,” thereby guaranteeing their authenticity and justifying the higher price.
These trademarks or certificate labels don’t necessarily mean that the products bearing them are superior to those without it. These marks or labels are intended to appeal to consumers.
There are many traditional crafts that are not designated as a “traditional crafts.”
On the list of traditional crafts issued by the Minister for Economy, Trade, and Industry, Edo kiriko is listed in the section of Tokyo (other crafts, 2002), but there is no listing for Satsuma kiriko in the section of Osaka or Kagoshima.
This is because glass manufacturing for Satsuma kiriko has not been in continuous existence for over 100 years; it was discontinued once, and this makes it ineligible for recognition as a “traditional craft” under the Act on the Promotion of Traditional Craft Industries (Act No.57, May 25, 1974): Traditional crafts are “products that are made with traditional techniques which have been in use for more than 100 years”
It also does not qualify as a typical Satsuma craft because its techniques are not traditionally used in Satsuma cut glass.
Satsuma kiriko used to be produced in Satsuma region in the past, but it was discontinued once. Then it was reproduced mainly by Kamei Glass Corporation in Osaka. The reproduction technique was transferred to Satsuma region, and Satsuma kiriko was designated as the traditional raft.
Osaka can also be regarded as a seat of Satsuma kiriko because many artisans skilled in those techniques are still living in Osaka.
There are also traditional artisans who are qualified by cities or prefectures and don’t belong to the National Association for Japanese Traditional Artisans.
Trademark of Traditional Artisans by KAGOSHIMA (Satsuma) prefecture qualification
Trademark of Traditional Artisans by cities or prefectures qualification