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A Look at the Traditional Japanese Leather Crafted Goods of “Koshu Inden”

This video, titled "koshu lacquered deerhide (手技TEWAZA「甲州印伝」)," produced by "Japanese Traditional Crafts Aoyoma Square," is a video that promotes "Koshu Inden," a traditional Japanese craft.

Koshu Inden is a traditional craft that involves the lacquering of deer hide to create beautiful patters.
The high quality leather craft goods made by these artisans has been loved through the ages.
This video features how to make Koshu Inden.
Enjoy the beauty of this traditional Japanese craft.

Roots of Koshu Inden

The history of Koshu Inden goes way back, and it was already being produced in the Nara period, about 1,300 years ago.
Tabi (Japanese socks) made using the Inden technique are kept in the treasury of Shosoin (正倉院, Shosoin), and a box with an Inden inscription is also in the possession of Todaiji Temple (東大寺, Todaiji) in Nara Prefecture.
Koshu Inden had been actively made in the castle town of Kofu-jo after the Edo period and pouches made using Koshu Inden techniques became popular among the common people.

How Koshu Inden Are Made

Koshu inden is made through a series of processes such as tanning, dying, and lacquering animal hides such as deer or sheep.
Koshu Inden is unique in that it is both soft to the touch and durable.

Here we'll introduce the steps in Koshu Inden.
1. Yakizuri (0:29)
The leather is scorched with an iron and then sanded.
2. Paper pattern (0:45)
3. Lacquering (1:01)
The craftsman determines how the lacquers they choose will look.
4. Smoking (1:54)
Color is put into the product through smoking.
5. Sewing (2:21)

The work is shown in the video, making it very easy to understand.

Recommended Items That Shine With Koshu Inden Craftsmanship

Inden-ya in Yamanashi Prefecture (山梨県: Yamanashi-ken) sells a lot of handmade goods made by Koshu Inden craftsmen.
Yushichi Uehara, the founder of "Inden-ya" makes many soft-to-the-touch Koshu Inden goods by tanning deer hides using straw.
Inden-ya's highly recommended products include Koshu Inden long wallets, coin purses, business card holders, inkan cases, Japanese pattern Kinchaku (drawstring purses), and more.
The Sakura Komachi series, which features a motif of cherry blossoms in full bloom, is also very popular.
You can see these products at 2:47 in the video.

Recently products in collaboration with luxurious brands such as Gucci or Tiffany have caught the public's eye.
These products are available at an online retailers such as Amazon or Rakuten.

Summary of Koshu Inden

Koshu Inden is a traditional Japanese craft as well as a highly fashionable product.
As you can see from the video, you can use Koshu Inden goods for a long time thanks to the amazing handiwork of the Koshu Inden craftsmen.

The Koshu Inden artisans in the video says, "The unique appeal of Koshu Inden is the large variety of patterns, with dozens of different colors in a single product, and the joy of being able to choose the color and pattern you like."

【Official Website】Japanese Traditional Crafts Aoyoma Square

Written By
Last Updated : Sep. 15, 2020
坂崎 なお(Nao Sakazaki)
Interested in Japanese culture and traditions! I'll be introducing lovely scenery to you!
Koshu Inden - A Beautiful Craft Using Lacquered Deer Leather. Discover Japanese Culture and Craftsmanship With These Amazing Artisans in Kofu, Yamanashi!
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