Kanshitsu bag - a story of traditional production and unusual approach.

Kanshitsu is the term for the traditional Japanese lacquer technique.
The shape and function of these bag-objects are inspired by the „Inro“, a traditional Japanese case for holding medicine and small objects, suspended from the obi when wearing a kimono.

To know more about this story Taro Ohmae takes us to Japan where it started off. 

I learned that Urushi is a technique that was handed down from China in ancient times. In Japan many Buddhist statues were produced using it during the Nara and Tenpyo eras. After applying the linen cloth soaked with lacquer to the Buddha statue and drying it, they removed the mould from inside to complete it. I heard that the reason why the technology spread was that in Japan, where wooden architecture was the mainstream, many fires endangered Buddha statue. When made out of dry lacquer they were very light and easy to carry out of a burning temple because the inside was hollow. By the times I came to my home country, I wouldn't have thought of Urushi technique. I had a family trip to Hokuriku and got introduced to Mr. Kohei Kirimoto in Wajima, a lacquer artist from Wajima. Mr. Kirimoto was so kind to introduce me further to the craft. Like the Buddha statue, Kanshitsu requires a mold during the manufacturing. A process called Dattsukatsu. The mould, made out of specific soil and plaster, is very fragile and often gets destroyed in the process. To reproduce in this industry is difficult, time consuming and expensive. At least that was the impression Mr. Kirimoto gave me, telling me a variety of stories of reasons that are causing the slow decline of this industry. An ancient handcraft that exists by many streamlined divisions of labour. The completion of one working step affects all followings. With that in mind we started considering moulds made by 3D printer and teamed up and designed it together with my friend Architect and Designer Mr. Thomas Milly from University of Applied Arts, Vienna. By using a 3D printer it becomes possible to reproduce damaged mould in a short time. The same mould can be used now repeatedly to reduce costs and time. Because you can. By incorporating new technology into the production process, we can see the industry from a different perspective now. This was our attempt, this time.

We would like to thank Mr. Kohei Kirimoto, the lacquer artist, for cooperating with the project, and Mr. Thomas Milly for designing the 3D printing mould in Vienna.

Our Kanshitsu bags in S, M or L are made out of 70% Urushi, 10% Rice, 10% Cotton, 10% diatomaceous Earth.

If u are interested in ordering this bags please contact us via: info@sagan-vienna.com