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Nobuo Gato

我戸 宣夫
Ishikawa Prefecture
Ishikawa Prefecture
Manager and Artisan

It is important that the entire region progress together.

Mr. Nobuo Gato, a craftsman of wipe-lacquering (fuki urushi) is the third-generation of a lacquerware merchant, Gato Mikio in the town of Yamanaka in Ishikawa Prefecture. He was encouraged by the words of his father, Mikio “ Lacquerware will never disappear ”, and decided to take over the family business. After graduating from high school, he worked for a wholesaler of lacquerware in Nagoya City in order to gain on-the-job training. He came back to his hometown in 1977 and together with his older brother, Akio Gato, they established Gato Mikio Co., Ltd. specializing in the sales of lacquerware. It was a period of transition from wood turning work that their father and grandfather did. As they started the sales business almost from scratch, they had a difficult time finding new customers. Day after day, the brothers kept looking up addresses in the phone book and traveled around going from door to door with a map in hand. One of the most rewarding experiences he got through these sales activities was that he got to listen to the actual voice of the customers which in turn gave him ideas to make new products, which met the needs of the times. Additionally, his sense of gratitude for local craftsmen in this production region of lacquerware has grown. In the production of Yamanaka lacquerware, where all levels of workers are respected, no idea will materialize without the help of these craftspeople in every step of the production. “We all share good and bad times. There is no point being a solo winner. It is important that the entire region progress together”, says Mr. Gato. His voice expresses a strong hope for the future of Yamanaka.



Editorial Team

KOGEI STANDARD is a cultural online media introducing Japanese crafts to the world which include ceramics, lacquerware, textiles, woodworking, glass and many more.