Traditional Craft men & women in Taito city

Edo Moku-Chokoku [ Wood Carring ]

Yokoya Akinori

Akinori Yokoya is a craftsman of Edo-wood sculpture.

Although he was born in a family with wood sculpture as the family business, he seems to have been banned entering the workshop when he was a child. At first, since it was family business, so he thought easily that he will succeed the business, but it was opposed by Mr. Mitsuaki, his father, who is the third generation. However, now he is approved by Mr. Mitsuaki and he is studying hard everyday as the 4th generation of Soshu.
In Soshu, architectural sculptures of shrines and temples, or ornaments such as Buddha statues is being made, but it seems that a workshop making both architectural sculptures and ornaments is unusual. Mr. Koichi who is the first generation was a man who done the work of a 2 m 40 cm sculpture “Hoshi Shugyo no Zu (Figure of the training of Buddhist priest)” in Shibamata Taishakuten Temple. On the second floor of Soshu’s workshop, the original painting painted by the first generation is still remain.
Wood sculpture is a work made by carving wood with chisel. The wood used as the material, for making architectural sculpture, Yellow cedar, camphor, Japanese zelkova tree, Japanese cherry tree, Chinese scholar tree, Japanese cypress, boxwood, sandalwood tree, etc., is used. Among those, sandalwood tree is now in a situation that it is hard to obtain because the price have soared, but there is stock that the first generation have purchased before, so for a while it is possible to make sculptures of sandalwood, and this is become a strength of this workshop.
The procedure of shrines and temples sculpturing is to draw the picture of the work on a paper, cut the pattern paper and press it on the wood, then after make an estimate of the place to carve, the wood is started, with the order of wood cutting, rough carving, detailed carving, and finishing.
“Trees are getting old even after making them piece of works. The goodness will increase as we touch it and sebum stick to it, while it change due to aging” said Mr. Yokoya about the charm of wood sculpture.