日本語下に - Japanese at the bottom
I am raising funds to recover Japanese artisans who have lost their tools, materials and workshops in the aftermath of the earthquake.
On 1 January 2024, while most of the population were visiting their hometowns and spending time with their families, a 7.6 magnitude earthquake struck the Noto Peninsula area of Ishikawa Prefecture in Japan. The strongest earthquake to hit Japan in 13 years caused major damage and claimed dozens of lives.
The Noto peninsula is famous for its many ancient craft traditions, particularly in the town of Wajima. Many of these crafts were already struggling, but may have difficulty recovering after this event. In addition to the earthquake, a fire broke out in the centre of Wajima city, burning down around 200 buildings and destroying most of the famous 'Asaichi' morning market - a 1,000-year-old shopping district known for selling seafood and Wajima lacquerware.
Japanese lacquerware is believed to have been produced in Wajima since the Muromachi period (1333-1573). Many lacquerware workshops that had passed on their skills and knowledge for generations were affected or completely destroyed. This probably includes tools that have been handed down for centuries and are irreplaceable. But not only lacquerware artists from Wajima are affected, but also ceramists, woodworkers, brush makers and many other artisans who lost their studios, workshops, homes or workplaces in the prefecture.
Why am I collecting for this cause? I came to Japan to learn from the incredible culture of craftsmanship that exists here. The Japanese have welcomed me with open arms, sharing their wisdom, philosophy, and tools. I feel compelled to help when I see these people losing their livelihoods, while I still benefit from the knowledge they shared with me. I know we craftsmen have a special bond, and most of us have learned from the Japanese in one way or another. That is why I want to help them now when they need urgent support most. I need YOUR support!
Most people are still evacuated, and it will take long before any rebuilding can begin. I will gather information about the various artisans affected and their need to rebuild their trade. I will personally pass on all funds to help them buy materials or tools. I will keep you updated, but please be aware that this will likely take months.
How the funds will be spent
I am a German citizen, currently studying Japanese craft in Ishikawa Prefecture, the same prefecture hit by the earthquake. I know many affected artisans personally because they are either my teachers or I have met them on visits to Wajima. Since many relief funds in response to the earthquake require a Japanese bank account or phone number, I wanted to make this fund accessible to people internationally. The funds will, therefore, go directly to me, and I will then pass them on. Once I have a clear overview of all the artists affected (there is barely any phone signal right now, and many people have no connection to the internet), I will pass on the money via bank transfer to the artists or personally. It is essential that the artists can spend the money on the materials and tools they need freely.
Who the money will go to
One third of the money will go to the Wajima Lacquerware Association which has 103 members, which are almost all actively involved in the production of Wajima Lacquerware. The Association will decide how to best use the donation made to them in order to rebuild the famous Urushi Tradition of Wajima
One third will go to the Suzu Pottery Association, representing the Ceramicists of Suzu
And the last third will be passed on to individual craftspeople, who I personally believe would benefit most, such as:
(This list is subject to change and additions)
A lacquerware artist from Wajima, whos workshop and home burned down
箱瀬工房 Hakose Kobo
Lacquerware artist from Wajima. The house and two workshop buildings were all destroyed, this is a before and after of the workshop:
田谷昂大 Taya Lacquerware Workshop
A Group of Urushi Artisans from Wajima. The office building and factory were completely destroyed and the newly constructed gallery burned down.
a lacquerware artist in Wajima, who lost her home due to heavy snowfall in December and who's workshop was destroyed during the earthquake
A maki-e artisan from Wajima. Her workplace, as well as her husbands workshop and family home all burned down, including all the lacquer, stock and lacquer tools, some inherited from her Family.