New Year’s greetings 2024

Very belatedly, Happy New Year!

That said, New Year’s Day wasn’t really a happy one for me as a Japanese person: I would like to express my deepest sympathy to the victims of the enormous  earthquake and tsunami that occurred in the Noto region of our country on that day.

One of the worst hit areas was Wajima, a major center of lacquerware production in Japan. As I wrote in my post on Urushi no hanashi (The Book of Urushi), Wajima lacquer artists have been producing excellent works in recent years and are highly regarded worldwide. This earthquake has severely affected those who are involved in the Wajima lacquer industry, including woodworkers, lacquerers, maki-e artists, and dealers. As a result, the survival of Wajima lacquerware is now under threat.

I have known a few lacquer artists in Wajima personally for many years, and they have had to evacuate to Kanazawa to re-establish their livelihood while helping their friends and colleagues. One such artist is Wakamiya Takashi, who runs a workshop called Hikoju Maki-e. He has launched the “Hikoju Maki-e Revival Project.” You can support this project by making a donation, as mentioned in his Facebook post:

I made a small donation from the proceeds of the Koryuen Book Fair held in late January (click here for details).

Finally, I wish a speedy recovery to the Noto region and the Wajima lacquer industry.

I also wish all of you a fruitful New Year!

Komada Makiko