Mr. Tamotsu Hoshino is a coppersmith and the third generation head of Dogin Doki. Mr. Hoshino’s copperware has become quite popular and many foreign tourists visit his shop.
Copperware refers to cookware and tableware, such as kettles, frying pans, and tumblers made of copper. Copper is highly conductive. It is believed to be about 22 times more conductive than stainless steel when heated. As heat isn’t concentrated in one spot in copper pots it’s less likely to burn the contents, making it ideal for cookware. It is also extremely suitable for use as tumblers as it excels at insulating cold drinks as well.
Dogin Doki opened in Taito Ward, Tokyo in 1924. At that time, cooking was typically done using charcoal. A copper pot holder called ‘Otoshi’ was placed inside a wooden brazier, and the pot placed on top. In this area, there were many traditional Japanese restaurants that used small braziers to keep each and every one of the customers warm, making the wintertime a very busy season. In the summer there was more spare time which was used for making frying pans and kettles.
The fundamental process of copperware begins with cutting metal ore into the desired shape. A process called ‘jigane tori’. After that, a process called ‘namashi’ is used, where the ore is softened by heating it on a burner. Then the ore is moulded into shape by hitting the bottom repeatedly with a wooden mallet. Finally, Kanadzuchi (hammer) pattern is hit into the surface to complete the product.
When Mr. Hoshino became a craftsman, he spent 4 years in training to become a silversmith as well. Silver is more difficult to work with than copper so he was able to learn how to work delicately. When his family changed from using charcoal to gas heating, the quality of copperware had to be improved. Recently, when they changed from gas heating to electric heating, even more changes appeared. It seems to be very difficult to use IH (Induction Heating) because the bottom of the pot needs to be made much thicker.
These past few years, there’s been an increase in the number of foreign tourists and among them are some who return many times. “Perhaps the younger generations haven’t had much experience with copperware, but I recommend trying the frying pans and vegetable graters. Copper frying pans spread the heat more evenly than stainless steel ones.
“I feel my job is worthwhile when a customer buys something, takes it home to try and then returns saying it was really good and that they want to buy another product this time. I feel good knowing they have come to understand the charms of copperware. Sometimes, a customer sends me a letter with their impressions and thoughts. Those moments are perfect bliss for craftsmen.” said Mr. Hoshino.
If you would like to know more about the craft history, manufacturing process, tools, etc., please check this movie.(8min26sec.)
Address: (Tokyo) Taito, Asakusa 4-22-10
Hours: 10am – 6pm
Holidays: Open daily unless otherwise noticed