Japan Craft: practical and beautiful

Spend a little time on the DEJAPAN homepage, and you’ll see the ‘Store Shopping’ tab. Hover on that, look at how many niche stores there are to explore… then click ‘JAPAN Craft Shop’.

You’re about to enter a wide new world of ‘made in Japan’ handicraft goods. With so much choice, you’ll still have no idea what to click on.

Here’s what we recommend:


Weird name spelling, huh?

That isn’t a crazy font ‘t’ in the middle, it’s a katakana character: ‘to’. Pronounce the whole word as ‘eat-to-co’ – it sounds just like the phrase ‘ii toko’ (良い所) – a good place.

Bonus points the the brand for blending that with a ‘eat + cooking’ (ea + co) concept, playing on the word ‘to’ also meaning ‘and’ in Japanese.

If you thought that was the end of the wordplay thing, you’d be so wrong.

These kitchen utensils and tools are named for what they do:

  • Tolu spatula, ‘toru’ (取る), to take
  • Nulu butter knife – ‘nuru’ (塗る), to spread
  • Tsukam tongs – ‘tsukamu’ (掴む), to grab
  • Mazelu whisk – ‘mazeru’ (混ぜる), to stir/mix
  • Hakalu measuring cup – ‘hakaru’ (計る), to measure

Performance benchmark officially set – it’s in the name, so they have to get the job done. You know from the start that these tools work as expected. And you’re learning new Japanese words at the same time!

Eaトco utensils are made using light and durable stainless steel. They’ve got that clean, minimalist look, and smart functional style.

Tongs with wider, grippy ends, for picking stuff up easier. Holes in the butter knife, to make super spreadable butter swirls… we could go on.

It’s thoughtful design across the board (even the ‘ita’ cutting boards, haha), with a focus on how people really prep and cook. Not many companies bother to make 4 kinds of graters.

They’re not complicated designs, but the Eaトco range does feel unique. And weirdly like a full, matching set of kitchen tools at the same time.

Tamamushi lacquerware

Tamamushi’s a style of lacquer coating, first created in Miyagi prefecture. Okay, in the prefecture’s main city, Sendai, if you wanna be picky.

In Japanese, ‘tamamushi’ means ‘jewel beetle’. A shiny, reflective thing your eyes are drawn to. This technique gets the same effect with a coating of silver powder under the lacquer.

The finishes are gorgeous. It’s a tricky process – if the coating’s not applied perfectly even, you’ll be able to tell something’s off when it dries.

Tohoku Kogei – also from Miyagi – started producing Tamamushi lacquerware about 5 years after the first ever piece was made. We’re not far off the 100th anniversary, for both the company and the style.

Spot famous Miyagi sights on Tamamushi pieces: the prefecture’s flower, ‘hagi’ (bush clover), and Sendai Castle are both common designs.

Maybe the most famous Tamamushi lacquerware item ever made by Tohoku Kogei… is this pen.

It’s nice, huh?

This lovely pen was gifted to pro ice skater Yuzuru Hanyu by Tohoku Kogei directly, after he won a People’s Honour award in summer 2018.

We feel like it’s a pen that could sell well by itself, to collectors and the right kinds of stationery fans. But with such a modern icon involved… demand’s gotten high.

Want to buy from Japan? Get crafty

All this cool stuff and more awaits you in the ‘Japan Craft’ shop on the DEJAPAN website. (And hey, feel free to look around a bit more while you’re there!)

With our proxy shopping service in English, you can order all kinds of hand-crafted and purpose-made items from Japan. Take advantage of protective packaging options for international shipping.

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