Wajima city is located in the northern part of Noto peninsula. The lacquerware produced in this area (known as Wajima nuri) is made by traditional manufacturing methods of applying urushi-lacquer mixed with the powder of calcined diatomaceous earth called “jinoko” which is then coated with many layers of highly-pure lacquer. The products are known for their sturdiness as well as elegant decoration of “chinkin” (gold-inlay) and “maki-e” (painting with gold/silver powder). Established in 1888, Tohachiya has been running the business of “nushiya” which means a vendor cum manufacturer of Wajima lacquerware. They started their business by peddling around the country to sell their products but when Mr. Masahide Shioji’s father took over as head of the house (“oyakata” in Japanese) they began to focus on the production of custom-made lacquerware for professional-use.
Mr. Masahide Shioji has been in constant pursuit of creating professional-use lacquerware that is robust and user friendly which are made by using traditional methods. Listening to the comments from the restaurants which he had visited he tried many tests from the aspects of shape, color and durability. He has a strong commitment as a “nushiya” to the extent that he does all the finishing of Tohachiya’s products by himself.
While maintaining the traditional method of manufacturing of Wajima-nuri which requires over 120 of processes, they communicate closely with the customers to respond to their requests. Through excellent craftsmanship, Tohachiya earns the deep trust of their customers including Michelin starred restaurants. On another front, over at their flagship store, they offer lacquerware for general-use as well as accessories. Mrs. Shioji who is the planner of the store is committed to promote the daily use of Wajima lacquerware by conveying its value. Hoping for the growth of Wajima lacquerware, she has embarked on a new stage in developing it for the overseas market.