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By: anjuli mahendra

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Friday, 7-May-2004 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Day of Kakejiku

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This being my third time to the Ikeda's kakejiku restoration company, I was keen to get more insight about this place. A bit of explanation here: kakejiku is a type of scroll painting made in Japan and displayed in a specific location called ___________ as you enter a home. Kakejiku are also displayed in temples, usually in ______________. The company consists of two main sections: one being the production of small kakejiku, called sho-fuku (literally meaning small painting), and the other being restoration of old kakejiki, called shu-fuku( literally meaning restoration of painting). The sho-fuku are made specially for butsudan (Buddhist altars in the house), and the majority of the kakejiku restored are for temples in the Kansai area.

Going the company on my own made quite the difference... I started out on the second floor nervously taking photos of the women working on sho-fuku.[img]All of the work is done by hand, a lengthy process-- about ?10? steps. There were ______ women sitting in seiza working on the various steps of creating kakejiku.[img] They seemed a bit nervous (and possibly perplexed) to have a gaijin photographing their work. The room full of women diligently working on sho-fuku was couched by two men; one was a nice old Japanese man, the manager of sho-fuku production, while the other man cut ?kinlan?, (the basic fabric used for kakejiku) at a table, the first step of sho-fuku. The manager did his best to help me get the information/ pictures that I wanted, but the real help came when Yoshi popped down from the third floor, where shu-fuku (kakejiku restoration) takes place.
So why did he start working at this company? Well, he was working at a juku (cram school) and decided that he wasn't really satisfied with his work. He wanted to work with his hands and so he joined the company sixteen years ago without any experience in the trade.[img] He spent the first five years working on the second level doing sho-fuku and got a bit of experience repairing small kakejiku as well. After five years, he worked on ura-uchi for 3 years, an important step in the restoration process.[img]_____ Finally, after eight years, he moved up to shu-fuku. After some time, I finally moved up to the third floor. The atmosphere was quite different here. Three men working... all of them standing at large wooden tables.[img] I posed the same probing question to the other two men, and I got two very different responses. First Manabu. Although he graduated with a degree in Buddhism from Otani University, he has no pesonal interest in Buddhism. Before working in this company, he working for ____ years in husuma production. (Japanese sliding doors) This background in production enabled him to move up to shu-fuku quickly. Ken-san, the third man working on shu-fuku, also studied at Otani University. Originally from Kanto, he had a real desire to study Buddhism and Philosophy. His interest in Japanese traditional arts is what brought him to this company.[img] So now the difficult question... why aren't there any women working on kakejiku restoration? Let's see if their answer satisfies you... Shu-fuku requires more muscle/power and therefore traditionally it has only been performed by men. Maybe, but in watching their work, it seemed like any able-bodied woman could be doing it as well. This prompted me to find out about gender differences in other traditional Japanese arts. However, my good friends upstairs where defintitely at a loss. Guess I'll just have to do some more searching!


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