KOGEI & Me

Reo Kosaka / Chie Kosaka

小坂玲央・智恵

We placed our hope for the future of Kiso in our colorful lacquer painting.

Mr. Reo Kosaka and his wife, Chie met each other as fellow students at the technical school of urushi lacquer arts in Kiso, Shiojiri city. They got married in 2009 and took over the lacquerware shop run by Reo’s family. For their family business, Mr. Kosaka’s work is now focused on the production of wooden furniture while Mrs. Kosaka does hand painting of lacquer. Even though both of them work together on product planning and sales everyday, each is an independent craftsperson who has his/her unbending ideas. As both of them have their own unique personalities, discussions become a source of creation and sometimes difficulties. For example, during the launch of “hyakushiki” which is the company’s original brand of urushi-glassware, their points of view were so different that it was not easy to reach an agreement. Looking back to that time, Mrs. Kosaka said with a laugh “The designer finally arranged it well.” However, both Mr. and Mrs. Kosaka share one belief that is to faithfully keep to the tradition they inherited. They both wish for the same thing. “ We hope a wide recognition of the brand, “hyakushiki” will encourage more people to turn their attention to this production area of Kiso lacquerware and that it will create an opportunity to gather young people in this area”.

色あざやかな漆塗りに産地の未来を託して

小坂玲央さん智恵さん夫婦は、漆器の専門学校の木曽高等漆芸学院の同期生として出会った。2009年に結婚。玲央さんの実家である漆器店を夫婦二人で受け継いだ。現在、玲央さんが家具作りを、智恵さんは漆の絵付けを主に担当している。二人は普段、商品の企画や営業を共にしているが、どちらも譲らない職人タイプ。意見を交わしあうことで、新たな世界を作り上げていく。例えば、同店のオリジナル漆硝子ブランド「百色 hyakushiki」の立ち上げの際は、二人の意向は平行線を辿ったまま、「最後はデザイナーさんがうまくまとめてくれました」と笑いながら当時を振り返る智恵さん。しかし二人の理想の背景には、受け継いだ伝統をきちんと守りたいという共通した想いがあった。二人の願いは同じ。「百色を国内外で広く知ってもらうことで、木曽漆器の産地に目を向けてもらいたい。それが若い人たちが集まるきっかけになってほしいのです」。

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