A Traditional Craft of Aichi

Background of the establishment of Traditional Industry Law

Longing for handicrafts

A variety of traditional handicrafts cultivated in Japanese culture and history --such as textile, dyed clothes, ceramics, lacquerware, bamboo goods, woodwork, Buddhist family altars, dolls, Japanese paper, and metalwork... have been considered to be daily articles closely attached to Japanese people's living.

All the products have been made of natural materials through traditional manual labor procedures with the whole heart and soul of the craftsman. People traditionally have used them with tender loving care for many years.

With high economic growth, mass-produced and performance-oriented products have been finding their way into every space of our lives. The age of disposable goods is upon us and with it a physical culture as a result of mass production and mass consumption.

However, we never feel satisfied when everything around us is mass-produced and mechanical. For objects we often use in our daily life, we really long for something familiar, something relaxing, or something that gives us some flavor.

People have come to demand from a product not only performance but also high quality in impression.

Suppliers' crisis

While users' demands for products are growing, manufacturers are faced with a critical situation that affects their very survival.

Traditional crafts are mainly characterized by their manual labor procedures. However, these procedures did not fit in the postwar economic boom which focused on mechanization, modernization and rationalization. Because most of the traditional handicraft businesses were small enterprises, it was very hard to modernize the work environment while ensuring that the manual labor procedures could be kept intact.

It is impossible to transmit traditional handicraft techniques in a short space of time, and they can be obtained only after a long period of training which requires sustained patience and effort. In addition, since the new generation prefer going to a big city and working in modern industries, traditional craft industries are suffering a serious shortage of successors.

There are still more problems such as a shortage of materials and the delayed modernization of the distribution system. Finally, it is possible that some of the traditional handicrafts will be forced into decline.

Once the succession of a traditional technique is interrupted, it will be impossible to revive these precious handicrafts. Indeed, there are already many traditional handicrafts that have lost their industrial foundations and died out.

For the purpose of preserving our racial culture, several measures have been taken based on the Cultural Properties Protection Law. These measures, however, only cover the properties necessary for cultural preservation, and they have nothing to do with the promotion of the industries that provide ordinary people with daily necessities.

For the purpose of promoting industries, there are general measures for small enterprises, but they mainly encourage mechanization and modernization. Because manual labor procedures are their lifeline, traditional handicraft industries can hardly utilize such measures.

In the light of this, promotional measures for traditional handicraft industries were finally taken into consideration.

In such a context, the Traditional Industry Law was enacted.