Fuji-Torii Co., Ltd. designed and created a kind of lacquered "Lacquy-marker" bookmark (trademark registration pending) and will start selling it in October 2007 after a product announcement in September.
If a thin plate is painted with urushi (lacquer), it will curve or warp. Fuji-Torii developed a technique that ensures the plate does not warp (process patent pending) and named it "Lacquy-marker", which is elegant yet strong.
Lacquy-marker is hand-made in Japan. The base is made from natural Japanese wood and the base coat is even painted with hon-urushi (real lacquer). Both the wood and the lacquer used are biodegradable, which makes Lacquy-marker an eco-friendly product.
The longer you use Lacquy-marker, the more lustrous the lacquer becomes. Lacquy-marker can be enjoyed for the rest of your life. I hope that teenagers who use Lacquy-marker bookmarks become used to reading books and cultivate a mind-set of cherishing what they have.
The Urushi lacquer industry in Japan is on the verge of a crisis. Production has been declining steadily because of the spread of mass-produced goods and imitations made in other Asian countries, in addition to the decline in usage of lacquerware by Japanese people.
The crisis is not limited to lacquerware. All traditional crafts have suffered similar problems. Skilled lacquer workers have resigned, and people who made raw materials and tools like brushes have closed their businesses, because the demand for lacquerware has decreased so much.
We can not fight off the current major decline in the use of traditional lacquerware. However, I want as many people as possible to remember the traditional skills and beauty of a craft that has its roots in Japanese culture and history. It is for this reason that I designed Lacquy-marker.
I hope to increase the demand for lacquerware by offering more familiar and casual lacquered goods at affordable prices. I hope that the increase in demand will satisfy the dreams of and provide jobs for younger workers, allowing them to develop their skills and cultivate authentic Japanese craftsmanship.
Lacquer workers all over Japan, and other concerned people that work in places where lacquerware is produced, who agree with the plan collaborate with Fuji-Torii and produce genuine Lacquy-marker, using their exceptional skills to create a genuinely beautiful product.
Urushi lacquerware is the essence of nature set into raw materials by the individual skills of the lacquer workers. It would be a real pleasure for me if you could feel the pure heart and soul of all the people concerned with making Lacquy-marker.
In an age when efficiency and profit are prioritized, I want Japanese people to inform their soul and way of being through the "natural beauty of Japan", and also recover some Japanese pride.
I want lots of people to know and use the lacquerware that embodies the authentic craftsmanship and beauty of Japan, with the aim of protecting Japanese art and culture. I would appreciate it if you could cooperate with our activities as far as you can.
Lacquy-marker, packaged elegantly, has a strong reputation as a memorable gift and a sales promotion item for any purpose and in any situation, in addition to its reputation as a long-lasting bookmark.
Lacquy-marker was approved as a new product by the Japan Urushi Arts and Crafts Association at their convention on June 6, 2007. I therefore give notice that Lacquy-marker will be listed as produced under the supervision of the Japan Urushi Arts and Crafts Association.