Lacquerware is a traditional Japanese craft.
I actually use lacquerware everyday.
Unfortunately, today, plenty of imitation lacquerware is sold in Japan.
It shows that many Japanese people have no interest in real lacquerware.
I’m very sad.
If you want real traditional Japanese lacquerware and you don’t know much about it, you will probably buy an imitation product without realizing it.
So I’ll give you some advice.
At first, I’ll explain about difference between traditional Japanese lacquerware and imitation lacquerware.
And then, I’ll tell you some things to be careful of when buying lacquerware.
Traditional Japanese lacquerware is made of natural wood and lacquer.
The lacquer gives durability to natural wood. So lacquerware lasts a very long time.
This photo is my lacquer soup bowl.
It is not just durable but it is also beautiful.
By the way, newly made lacquerware never shows us its real beauty.
Lacquerware increases its beautiful shine by being used for a long time.
This feature is the main attraction of lacquerware.
In other words, lacquerware become beautiful after it has been used for a long time.
The production process is divided into several phases. It’s a division of labor. These are done by hand.
Today Chinese lacquer is mainly used for traditional Japanese lacquerware.
Chinese lacquer accounts for 97 percent of the whole demand for lacquer in Japan.
This is because the demand for Japanese lacquer had decreased sharply because of the rising popularity of plastic.
So Japanese lacquer became very rare and expensive.
It seems that the difference in quality between Japanese lacquer and Chinese lacquer is almost the same.
The overcoat of my soup bowl is Japanese lacquer, but its undercoat is Chinese.
On the other hand, imitation lacquerware is made of plastic or compressed wood.
The synthetic resin paint is used as an alternative to the lacquer.
The imitation resembles the real traditional lacquerware in appearance. It is produced on a large scale by the machine.
So the imitation is a lot less expensive than the real one.
You may be able to buy it at the same price as a McDonald’s hamburger.
But the imitation doesn’t have the same charm as the real traditional lacquerware.
The synthetic resin paint fades easily and will peel off in a few years.
The biggest problem is that the imitation lacquerware is sold as the “Lacquerware” in spite of the fact that lacquer is not used.
And the name of a well-known production area for the traditional lacquerware is written on the package. That is wrong.
Lacquered plasticware is also sold as lacquerware.
That case is not wrong in theory, but if you want the traditional “Wooden” lacquerware, that is really confusing.
So the person who doesn’t have much knowledge about this lacquerware is easily deceived.
What should you be careful of in order to buy the real lacquerware?
There are two important points to consider.
The first point is that you should go to the high-priced specialty handcrafts shop.
This is because it takes time and effort to make the real lacquerware.
It is made by the traditional division of labor, so the high price is natural.
The imitation is completely the opposite of this.
So the imitation product is cheap.
Judging the selection of shops is very important.
Though the real lacquerware is expensive as the tableware, it is much cheaper than Louis Vuitton.
And then, the second point is that you should pay attention to the lacquer-painting craftsperson.
If you find some lacquerware that you are curious about, you should ask the shop clerk for information on the lacquer-painting craftsperson.
If that shop is reliable, the shop clerk will tell you about the details or the style of work of a craftsperson.
Then you will be able to know the background of that lacquerware.
And you will feel familiar with lacquerware.
In this way, you can find your favorite lacquerware without being deceived by an imitation product.