Meet a Traditional Lacquerware Craftswoman

Keeping the Noda family’s crafts alive

By Yoshi Hirasawa    - 2 min read

Toshiko Noda is a traditional lacquerware craftswoman based in Minami-Ashigara, Kanagawa. Her meeting with Kosaku Noda left a strong impression that changed her life and set her on the path of lacquerware. Kosaku Noda became her teacher and later her husband.

After her husband’s passing, Toshiko Noda took over her husband’s work. Despite her age and the challenges facing her, she has kept pursuing her passion for making traditional lacquerware crafts.

This video presents an emotional dive into Toshiko Noda’s world in which she invites us to share her story.

About her crafts

The first traces of lacquerware (Shikki/漆器, or Urushi/漆) were found in Japan as early as 7000 BCE. The sap extracted from the lacquer tree was applied to the craft to protect the wood, but it was also used as glue for art purposes.

In modern Japan, wood and lacquerware crafts have slowly disappeared from daily life, given the impact of globalization. In this context, Toshiko Noda aspires to bring this tradition back to life by facilitating better access to lacquerware crafts. In particular, she creates easy-to-use utensils for young kids, like spoons and bowls, whose purpose is to awaken them and stimulate their sensitivity to art.

Her generosity and care for others are reflected in her crafts which quickly fit everyone’s daily life. You can admire Toshiko Noda’s crafts at Setoyashiki, located in the Kaisei town area of west Kanagawa.

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Yoshi Hirasawa

Yoshi Hirasawa @yoshi.hirasawa9848

Videographer based in Tokyo. Creating documentaries to showcase Japanese Craftmanship, available on Youtube. 

Join the discussion

Susan Tumanon a month ago
I love the video. Continuing her husband's legacy. Mrs. Noda's creations are beautiful.
Sherilyn Siy a month ago
I learned recently that lacquer belongs to the same family as poison ivy and that some people can have allergic reactions to new lacquer. It would be fascinating to know how the people learned to use the sap from this tree.
Yoshi Hirasawa Videographer a month ago
Yes, it will be great indeed!
Kim a month ago
Really enjoying your videos - hope you'll keep them coming!
Yoshi Hirasawa Videographer a month ago
Thank you Kim!
Sleiman Azizi a month ago
This is great. Much respect to her.