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The online magazine HIGHLIGHTING JAPAN

May 2022


Cover May 2022



    Lacquer has been deeply connected to the culture and lives of Japanese people since ancient times. Sourced from the sap of the lacquer tree, lacquer has long been used to coat everyday wooden utensils such as bowls and tools, and since at least the eighth century, it has also been used for the creation of ornamental boxes and objects of art. Lacquerware has excellent practical and decorative qualities, and with advances in technology lacquer is now even applied to industrial goods on non- wooden surfaces such as camera bodies and watches. In this month’s issue of Highlighting Japan, we zoom in on some examples of the beauty and durability of Japanese lacquer.



  • The History and Culture of Lacquer in Japan

    An interview with Hidaka Kaori, professor at the National Museum of Japanese History

  • Turning Traditional Lacquer Art into Contemporary Art: The Work of Takahashi Setsuro

    A profile of the late lacquer artist Takahashi Setsuro (1914-2007)

  • The Pursuit of Radiance in Lacquer

    A profile of contemporary lacquer artist Asai Yasuhiro

  • Red Lacquerware from the Jomon Period

    The history of lacquer use in Japan started during the Jomon period, more than 7,500 years ago.

  • Joboji Urushi Lacquer and Joboji-nuri Lacquerware

    Joboji Urushi lacquer is highly regarded both for the vibrant colors it creates and for its remarkable durability.

  • Reviving the Production of “Negoro” Vermilion Lacquerware

    Negoro-nuri lacquerware is said to become more attractive with use, a characteristic which owes to its complex production process.

  • Delicately Elegant Traditional Kyoto Lacquerware

    Kyo (short for Kyoto) lacquerware is believed to have originated in the Kyoto area in the latter half of the eighth century.

  • Lacquer Coating Technology for Industrial Goods

    A company in Aizuwakamatsu City, Fukushima Prefecture, has developed a technology to apply lacquer to industrial goods.