Since various schools of Buddhism were introduced to Japan 1,500 years ago, the unique denominations in Japan were formed by their successors throughout Japan. Most denominations and their temples have believers who have preserved their temples as heritage passed on for generations from their ancestors. In general, most people hold the view that Japanese are Buddhist because of this history that continued from their ancestors.
The most active traditional industry in Takaoka City, Toyama Prefecture, a city famous for its manufacturing skills, is the casting industry.
Casting is a method to manufacture molten metal in a mold to produce a product. Buddhist altar objects have been produced by metal casting in Takaoka City from ancient times. From large Buddha statues that are several meters high to small Buddhist bells and flower vases, manufacturers are still producing metal objects related to Buddhist ceremonies. Various casting techniques were developed to create Buddha statues full of delicate decorative designs. Sand molds are mostly used for casting. Special sand is filled into a metal box that is split in half to form a male mold and female mold. The original model is pressed into these molds, taken out, and molten metal is poured into the space shaped in the sand mold. After the metal is cooled, the sand is removed from around the metal, polished by experienced artisans, and finished as a product.
The casting method used to produce Kirin is the lost-wax casting method. As the name suggests, a plaster solution is applied several times to an original model made by wax and then dried to solidify. This mold is heated to melt and remove the wax from inside, molten metal is poured in the space created inside the plaster for casting. It is called “lost-wax” since the wax is heated and lost in this method. This method allows for creating a product that is delicate and complex. Only a few factories apply this difficult and time-consuming method today. However, we were able to produce the long legs that suspend from the four corners of Kirin because of the encounter we had with the lost-wax technique that has been used continuously in Takaoka City.
Brass products made by casting are mostly produced by the hands of skilled craftsmen using their experience and intuition throughout the manufacturing process. We are producing legs for benches, sofas, and cabinets by fully using advanced techniques applied for delicate artifacts. Furthermore, crosspieces that connect the four legs are our original products made by a special manufacturing method called extrusion molding.
We think that by integrating and using special techniques left in various areas of Japan, we can contribute to the preservation of these techniques into the future. The excitement our customers around the world experience when receiving our products made by these Japanese techniques brings joy to those who were involved in creating these products. Kirin offers a large bench with the seat placed on brass legs made with refined skills.