KOGEI & Me

Koji Yamane

山根晃司

Being mindful of my natural self while doing a job that is appreciated by others

Mr. Koji Yamane is from Kumamoto Prefecture. From a young age, he was fond of arts and crafts and interested in the work of craftspeople. After graduating with an engineering degree, he had worked in various fields but his desire to be a craftsman still remained. Subsequently, he joined Takemata as an artisan of bamboo craft. Having been fascinated by the natural beauty of bamboo and the flexibility of the material which can be formed into a variety of shapes depending on the processing method, he continues to develop his skills. One of the advantages of working in Takemata was that the company takes on many landscape works such as making bamboo fences, in addition to production of small bamboo crafts and therefore he was able to acquire a wide range of techniques. Mr. Yamane usually completes a job independently from the selection of materials to the finished product. He splits the bamboo effortlessly at equal intervals with a chopper. However he used to have fear. Working with bamboo exposes the craftsman to the risk of injury because of the nature of the material with its round shape and nodes which makes it difficult to handle. “I believe a craftsman should do a job that will be appreciated by others, rather than for the sake of his personal fulfilment. In order to achieve this I need to hold on to this thought while being mindful of my natural self when I am doing my job” says Mr. Yamane. His seventeen-years of experience had orientated him towards a discipline mind, while upgrading his skills.

平常心を保ち、人に認められる仕事を

熊本県出身の山根晃司さん。子どもの頃から手で物をつくることが好きで、職人の仕事に興味があった。大学の工学部を卒業して就職したが、職人になりたいという気持ちを抱き続けた。そんななか、竹工芸と出会い、竹又に入社。竹が持つ天然の美しさと、加工次第で様々な形に姿を変える奥深さに魅了され、技を磨いてきた。竹又では、竹細工を施した小物の制作の他、竹垣などの造園の仕事も多く、幅広い加工技術を習得することができた。素材の選定から製品の完成までを一人で完遂する。鉈を使って、いとも簡単に竹を等間隔に割っていく山根さんだが、かつては恐れを感じていたという。丸くて節があり、扱いづらい竹の加工は、怪我と隣り合わせの作業なのだ。「自分の満足というより、人に認められる仕事をするのが職人。そのためには、平常心を保つことが大切です」と語る山根さん。17年の経験は技術の向上と共に心の鍛錬へと向かう。

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