Traditional Craft men & women in Taito city

Tokyo Chokin [ Metal Engraring ]

Hiramoto Yaichi

Mr. Sakai Hiramoto is a chokin (engraving) artisan at the Hiramoto Studio.
The workshop was established around 1990 and has taught more than 2,500 students.

In order to do chokin, you first have to process the metal, but in the old days it used to be called kazari.
Kazarishoku is a craftsman who inherits the technique of silver (shirogane) work that has continued since the Heian period (794-1185), and they are the ones who use precious metals such as gold and silver to make the kazari for shrines and temple buildings, which branches off into making ornamental things such as rings, bracelets, brooches, and tiaras.

The process of making ornaments starts with the purchasing of raw metal materials from unprocessed metal shops, which are then heated and melted with a burner. Then you use a roller and finish it on a metal rod with a thickness that suits the ornament.
The metal rod is struck and rolled to create the shape of the ornament. If necessary, you can engrave designs or add jewels to it.

Mr. Hiramoto became a craftsman because he was more interested in the work of craftsmen than studying in school, so he chose to select a popular job with a fashionable atmosphere.
During the 1970s precious metals were so popular that they were flying off the shelves.
After that, the precious metals themselves did not sell well, but Mr. Hiramoto responded flexibly to the changes and made various ornaments according to the current trend.
As well as chokin, he learned all the necessary techniques for engraving and stone fixing, and started a chokin class around 1990.
The reason for starting the class was that he felt that the disciple system of craftsmen did not match the times.
“Today, disciples of craftsmen are paid poorly and it’s hard to get into the industry, and my wife dislikes living in stranger’s houses. Since that’s the case, i want to be able to teach the techniques of kazarishoku to more people in a classroom setting,” says Mr. Hiramoto.

Mr. Hiramoto’s classrooms are open daily from 10am – 9pm, with New Years being the only holiday.
After about a year and a half, you can learn about a series of techniques related to chokin, and about 40% of his students are working independently as chokin artisans. The total number of students he has taught so far is over 2,500.

“While teaching in the classroom, I also receive orders as a chokin craftsman. Recently a slightly unusual request has been increasing, which is using metal of a deceased person’s denture to make into a memento. Therefore I remove only the metal from the denture and make an ornament out of it. Instead of buying something new, it is always good to reuse what you want to keep. In such a way, I would like to make the most of the chokin techniques while changing with the times,” Hiramoto says.


Hiramoto Studio Ltd.

Address: 4-7-8 Taito, Taito Ward


Business hours: 10:00am – 9:00pm

※10:00am 6:00pm on Sundays and public holidays

Regular holidays: Thursdays, New Year’s Day