What is a traditional craft?
The Law Concerning the Promotion of the Traditional Craft Industries proclaimed on May 25, 1974 is generally referred to as the Traditional Industry Law.
Based on this law, a traditional craft is designated by Minister of Economy Trade and Industry.
A traditional craft as defined by the Traditional Industry Law should meet the following five requirements.
A traditional craft should be:
- Used mainly in everyday life
- "Everyday life" is taken as a broad meaning.
ceremonial occasions (e.g., wedding and funeral) and seasonal festivals that a person experiences only occasionally in one year or in one's whole life are considered to be part of "everyday life" if they are closely connected to Japanese life-style and carried out in ordinary Japanese families.
- In addition to this,
stone lanterns for gardens, dolls, and ornaments are included because they bring peace and some flavor to the family.
- Manufactured mainly by hand
- Original features and manual labor of a traditional craft are inseparable from each other.
If the manual labor of a traditional craft is carried by machine processes even while preserving a traditional technique, it has no meaning because the original features of the craft will be lost.
- Therefore, the main processes of a traditional craft must be done manually.
- Manufactured by using a traditional technique or skill
- Here, the term "traditional" is defined as continuing more than a hundred years.
- Even if the initial technique or skill from a hundred years ago has not been kept perfectly the same but there has been any improvement or development,
it is considered "traditional" as long as features peculiar to the craft products are kept unchanged.
- Made from traditional materials
- Similarly to technique and skill,
materials are also very significant for features of a craft product.
The term "traditional" used here also means a history of more than a hundred years.
- In addition, main materials should be natural substances.
Since some materials do not exist any more or are difficult to obtain these days,
other materials are permitted for use in exceptional cases as long as they do not alter the unique characteristics of the product.
- Manufactured in a certain area with a certain number of manufacturers
- A certain number of workers (more than ten businesses or more than 30 workers) should be engaged in the industry in a designated area.
Namely, a traditional craft needs a certain scale in manufacture and an established manufacturing area.
When Traditional Craft Industries Council of the Ministry approves that a craft product satisfies all the above requirements,
the Minister of International Trade and Industry designates it as "a traditional craft".
Once designated, it is outlined in an official gazette which shows information by classification of product,
such as a craft name, traditional technique and skill, materials traditionally used, and the manufacturing area.
Proof of traditional handicrafts