Traditional Craft men & women in Taito city

Edo Tegaki Chochin [ Hand-Painted Paper Lanterns ]

Yamada Norio

Mr. Norio Yamada is the eighth generation of Yamazakiya Genshichi lantern store. Many of the lantern manufacturing in Tokyo are broken into two parts, manufacturing and writing, Yamada works as a craftsman in the Edo hand drawing lamp part, and also drawing letters on the lanterns.

The Edo hand drawing lamp is a lantern with impressive large letters painted with Edo-styled letters painted in bold lines. It is said that the influence of the Edo period has spread to the mainstream, and is even used for candles. Especially in Asakusa there were many lantern craftsmen.

Yamada started out as a high school student, working part-time at a wholesale market, after learning how to draw lanterns in his twenties he attended a “lantern making” study group to deepen his knowledge and skills, and became an ambitious as a young lantern maker.
“Because the lantern art is believed to be printed, I trying to hand-draw each design, so that each one has its own personality. If you look at the lanterns, you can see tell which artist made it,” Yamada says. It seems to have taken ten years before he could draw all Edo-styled letters.

Edo hand drawn lamps are mainly used as store signs and celebrations, as well as festival decorative items, demands come mainly from the local three company festival. Mr. Yamada’s work is also used in “Thinkdoll Thunkoshi Honpo” by Thunder Okoshi Store, “Triennial” by Tempura Shop, Asakusa Nakamise Street. Also, it seems that there are not many requests from locals, where many lanterns have been seemingly going out of business because there are no big festivals. He said there seems to be “Lantern shops only in Asakusa”. But there are many everywhere.

Yamazaki Yagenshichi Chochin shop