KOGEI & Me Craftspeople and Their Stories
- 1972, 1990
- Hyogo Prefecture / Kanagawa Prefecture
- Kuroda Kobo
When it is finely assembled, the wood becomes attached to one another.
At a workshop in the countryside the sunlight filters through the window casting it with a soft glow. Two men can be seen working intently on the wood in front of them. Both are graduates from the same traditional crafts university in Kyoto. They are planing the wood to ascertain its characteristics to prepare it for kumiko (lattice). In woodwork, besides having knowledge of the tools such as the plane and the saw, “let the tool tell you” how it should be used, advises the senior Mr. Usui to his junior Mr. Choi. After graduating from university, Mr. Usui who is from Hyogo Prefecture had taken up an office job. However, he had always wanted to work with his hands and so he ventured into the woodworking industry. He started off working as a wood joiner for companies related to tea ceremonies and furniture. At the same time, he was creating original works of his own. Subsequently, he encountered Kuroda Kobo a professional company specializing in joinery and in 2015 he succeeded as the third generation and became the president of the company. Mr. Choi is from Kanagawa Prefecture. He had aspired to be an artisan and he became a disciple of Mr. Usui who was his senior from the same university. A kumiko is an intricate and delicate craft as it involves assembling wooden parts without the use of nails. It is like weaving with wood. If the measurement is off by just a little, the end product will not be perfect. “When it is finely assembled, the wood becomes attached to one another”. The eyes of the two craftsmen are full of joy.