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Japanese Shoes: Bespoke & RTW Super Thread - Page 244

post #3646 of 4062
I have a vague recollection of reading that the structure of the MOF awards was based on the Japanese National Living Treasure, but I might have misremembered the exact details.
post #3647 of 4062
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ntempleman View Post

I have a vague recollection of reading that the structure of the MOF awards was based on the Japanese National Living Treasure, but I might have misremembered the exact details.

You must mean the Teishitsu Gigeiin (Imperial Craftsman?) system that recognised artists and craftsmen (doesn't include culinary or performing arts). National Living Treasure system replaced this after the war.

I haven't heard that the French MOF is based on this though.
post #3648 of 4062
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by chogall View Post


Japan has one of the best if not the best crafts preservation cultural in the world. Even the French system is setup with Japan as an example.
Quote:
Originally Posted by HighToned View Post


I strongly disagree on this point, it's quite different. French system of "The Compagnons du Tour de France" is a French organization of craftsmen and artisans dating from the Middle Ages.
It's more like an Union of workers that share their knowledge. Masters send their apprentices to go see many different atelier for many years. Later, you can start working in a workshop.

In Japan, it's more a 先生/弟子 (Master/Disciple). You have to learn with a master from many years, then you keep working in the workshop. Then you take care of the business.

Westernization of Japan started 100 years ago, it's still the beginning of Japanese tailors, shoemakers, hatmakers... And they're already amazing work ! ; )  

If you don't limit your definition of "crafts" to something derived from the West in the past 150 yrs or so, yes Japan does have an impressive resume of crafts preservation. In terms of numbers (according to this magazine I found), Japan currently has 3113 operating businesses that have existed for 200 years or more. That accounts for 43% of such businesses in the world. Germany comes next at 22%, and France at 5%.

Out of the 3113 companies with over 200yrs in business, majority are traditional crafts related manufactures etc... (sake distilleries, traditional builders / contractors, fabric/kimono, arts)

post #3649 of 4062
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by HighToned View Post


In Japan, it's more a 先生/弟子 (Master/Disciple). You have to learn with a master from many years, then you keep working in the workshop. Then you take care of the business.

You may be talking about high end atelier-based workshops that often carried on the names of the master (Kenzan I, II, III and so forth)

But also keep in mind that the vast majority of crafts created in pre-modern Japan were not made by high-art crafts ateliers. Local utilitarian crafts were often made in artisan villages as a communal activity, and almost never carried names of masters. Local crafts traditions (folk crafts or so called mingei in Japan) were able to transmit faithfully over centuries by the communities, and many (such as the obvious Mashiko-ware) have been recognised and appreciated equally as their high-end counterparts in the field. If you like pottery, Japan has a good number of these local artisan communities still continually existing today.
Edited by nutcracker - 3/2/16 at 9:51am
post #3650 of 4062
I went through a full on nihonto research phase a few years ago, read tons of books on the craft. I even started saving up all my my old bent lasting nails in the hope of finding a smith to use them to make oroshigane when I've got a massive box full, seems like much nicer fate for the steel to be recycled into a tachi or something, rather than just chucked in the bin.
post #3651 of 4062
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ntempleman View Post

I went through a full on nihonto research phase a few years ago, read tons of books on the craft. I even started saving up all my my old bent lasting nails in the hope of finding a smith to use them to make oroshigane when I've got a massive box full, seems like much nicer fate for the steel to be recycled into a tachi or something, rather than just chucked in the bin.

One fun thing you may want to look at is Japanese kiridashi knives, which I believe are perfectly suitable for shoemaking. I think I have seen several shoemakers using Japanese kiridashi knives (not sure what specific function)

As you know, the Meiji Restoration heralded the ban of carrying swords and also heavily restricted the manufacturing of swords. Hence many great lines of swordsmiths either went down, or they went on to making other forms of metalworks, such as edged tools or knives. Kiridashi knives probably most resembles a sword in terms of construction. You can still track down some really good antique forge welded tools / knifes made by these talented tool smiths with sword making background.

Kiridashi knives by the late toolsmith legend Chiyozuru Korehide (direct lineal successor of the Cho-unsai Tsunatoshi school and the Tokyo Ishido school), are often sold for an excess of 10K USD on yahoo auction biggrin.gif.
post #3652 of 4062
Quote:
Originally Posted by ntempleman View Post

I went through a full on nihonto research phase a few years ago, read tons of books on the craft. I even started saving up all my my old bent lasting nails in the hope of finding a smith to use them to make oroshigane when I've got a massive box full, seems like much nicer fate for the steel to be recycled into a tachi or something, rather than just chucked in the bin.

I thought those swordsmiths smelted their own super high-quality steel (a quick Google search leads me to the term tamahagane). Still, it would be very nice to recycle that old steel into a value-added item like a tachi.

post #3653 of 4062
Tamahagane is bloom steel, smelted from iron sand in the ancient tradition of purpose built, expendable, giant clay furnaces - almost priceless, illegal to export and the few kilograms produced each year is reserved for the highest ranking Living National Treasures to make museum pieces with.

Oroshigane is recycled steel that the smith will smelt in much smaller furnaces themselves, usually to reduce the carbon content in the salvaged building materials, nails, old sword or weapon bits etc.
post #3654 of 4062
Quote:
Originally Posted by nutcracker View Post

One fun thing you may want to look at is Japanese kiridashi knives, which I believe are perfectly suitable for shoemaking. I think I have seen several shoemakers using Japanese kiridashi knives (not sure what specific function)

They look most like they'd be useful for clicking, there's some similarly shaped knives available. The only problem with a beautiful work knife like that, would be the fear of using it so as not to wear it out!
post #3655 of 4062
The problem with kiridashi is that they are quite thick behind the edge. Generally, they are 'san mai' construction, a harder metal backed with a softer metal that is easier to abrade. Based on my experience, aside from clicking as Nicholas mentions, their geometry renders them not great for shoemaking. The hard steel will take and hold a nice edge though.... A typical shoemaking knife is probably circa 1/16 - 1/8" thick, the kiridashi are more like 1/8 - 3/16" thick, really a substantial difference.
post #3656 of 4062
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by shoefan View Post

The problem with kiridashi is that they are quite thick behind the edge. Generally, they are 'san mai' construction, a harder metal backed with a softer metal that is easier to abrade. Based on my experience, aside from clicking as Nicholas mentions, their geometry renders them not great for shoemaking. The hard steel will take and hold a nice edge though.... A typical shoemaking knife is probably circa 1/16 - 1/8" thick, the kiridashi are more like 1/8 - 3/16" thick, really a substantial difference.

Unlike swords, Japanese forge welded tools are mostly 2 piece constructed, with hard steel exposed on one side and abraded flat. While kiridashi is an all purpose blade, blades could be made in a myriad shapes and relative thickness (to a degree) to suit various profession. Not saying that they are any more practical, nor usefull, and certainly not cheaper, compared to the European (Swedish?) knives that are the norm for even the Japanese shoemakers, but if someone fancies handmade, forge welded tools with a sprinkle of Japanese sword mystique, it is still possible to get some custom art-grade knives in Japan.
Edited by nutcracker - 3/2/16 at 8:47pm
post #3657 of 4062
Talking about knives, what's the real name for what the Japanese shoemakers to me described as a "Japanese shoemaking knife", the ones you push forward with when skiving for example? It's seems much harder to work with for me, but I guess it's all a matter of habit. Here's some pics of different usage of it from Yanagimachi's workshop:





post #3658 of 4062
You can find them in stores like goodsjapan if you google for Japanese skiving knives, I'm not sure what they're called though. Most heavy duty skiving is done with a pushing motion though, even with the more traditional long or curved profile blades.
post #3659 of 4062

There are different ways of handling that knife, including holding it in the palm to apply much greater force/stability.

 

They could be found on Alibaba or eBay for less than $10.  Not fancy Japanese carbon steel but it will do.

post #3660 of 4062
Quote:
Originally Posted by ntempleman View Post

I have a vague recollection of reading that the structure of the MOF awards was based on the Japanese National Living Treasure, but I might have misremembered the exact details.

 

MOF is an awards, it's a significant achievement in a life.  It's the equivalent of Japanese National Living Treasure (人間国宝).

Big difference : 

You don't even need to be French to wear the French collar on your outfit. Three years ago, a Japanese man won MOF on leather work for Hermès, he is now working for Moynat.

 

Btw, Meilleur Ouvrier de France was created in 1924, and Japanese National Living Treasure created in 1950.

 

 

Nutcracker, I wasn't arguing on Japanese vs French craft. I know that Japanese as a lot of beautiful craftsmanship.

I'm aware of the oldest companies are 53 % Japanese companies. Be careful, old companies doesn't mean "craftsmanship", first place is Hotel, Machinery Company, Religious Goods ... ; )

Japanese companies are also very old because of the flexibility created by Japanese law to adopt an apprentice as your son.

 

 

I was saying at Chogall that French didn't copy the Japanese for the best crafts preservation. For me they are very different approach in Europe compare to Japan. 

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