14th Annual Aki Matsuri
September 8 & 9, 2012 at the Bellevue College Main Campus
~ 2012 Aki Matsuri Featured ~
(4th Generation Sendai Tansu Blacksmiths And Chaser)
Courtesy of Mr. Eikichi Yaegashi
2012 Aki Matsuri "Featured Guest from Japan" program invited
Mr. Eikichi Yaegashi, a highly skilled blacksmith and chaser from
Sendai-shi who makes very decorative steel handles, lock plates, and
other hardware for the Sendai Tansu (a
chest of drawers).
Sendai Tansu is a traditional craft of Miyagi Prefecture. The tansu's
main frame is build using several types of wood: Keyaki (zelkova tree)
for the drawer fronts, kiri (paulownia) for inside of the drawers,
keyaki, sugi (Japanese cedar), or kuri (chestnut tree) for the side.
Drawer fronts are made shiny as a mirror by applying multiple coatings
of Urushi (Japanese lacquer), and then the tansu is completed with
the fabrication and installation of 200 ~ 300 beautiful metal fittings
made by the blacksmith and chaser.
grandfather (1st generation), father (2nd generation), and his oldest
brother (3rd generation) were all skilled blacksmiths and chasers
of Sendai Tansu before him. This highly refined master craftsmanship
was passed to Yaegashi Eikichi san now operating his own shop, the
"Yaegashi Sendai Tansu Metal Fitting Craft Studio" located
in Wakabayashi-ku, Sendai-shi as the 4th generation Sendai Tansu blacksmith
and chaser of the Yaegashi family. He designs, makes and installs
200 ~ 300 hand-crafted metal fittings for his customers by "special
order". These metal fittings are a key element in making each
Tansu a unique "one of a kind" work of art. He also restores
and repairs metal fittings of old Sendai Tansu. In recent years, he
has begun to actively conduct demonstrations in various places such
as festivals in Miyagi Prefecture, attend exhibits, and visit schools
in order to educate people about this special traditional master craftsmanship.
|Yaegashi-san's hand-made metal
fittings for Sendai Tansu were displayed at the 2012 Aki Matsuri.
He demonstrated how to make these traditional metal fittings by
embossing and incising three-dimensional, dainty yet impressive figures
on thin steel plates employing a Tagane (chisel) and Kanazuchi
(hammer). The tools he uses were also hand-made
This was indeed a very special opportunity to meet such a top class skilled
artisan in person, listen to his distinctive rhythm as his hammer came in
contact with the chisel head, and appreciate his work of art embodied only by
*Doomo Arigatou Gozaimashita to Mrs. Toshiko Yaegashi, Mrs.
Junko Maeda, and Mrs. Akiko Kurosawa for your invaluable
as the 9th child of Daikichi Yaegashi, the second generation blacksmith
and chaser to make metal fittings for Sendai Tansu. While studying
at the middle school, he started helping his father's business of
making metal fittings for Sendai Tansu
father Daikichi made metal fittings for Sendai Dansu ordered by General
of the Army Douglas MacArthur's wife, Mrs. Jean MacArthur. This Tansu
was brought back to the USA in 1951 and is now kept in the MacArthur
Memorial in Virginia
|| After graduating from middle school, he worked in a hotel restaurant
decided to become a blacksmith and chaser and started his apprentice
training under his father and oldest brother (3rd generation, Shigeru)
at his father's shop.
|| Per special request from Miyagi Prefecture, his oldest brother and
he made metal fittings for a Sendai Tansu which was presented to Ms.
Michiko Shoda (now Honorable Empress Michiko) to commemorate the royal
|| He opened his shop, "Yaegashi Sendai Tansu Metal Fitting Craft
|| He received an award from the Mayor of Sendai-shi for his contribution
as a Metal Fitting Artisan for Sendai Tansu
|| Received Traditional Crafts Industry Merit Award.
|| Received Hokkaido/Tohoku Regional Award from Pola Foundation for the
Promotion of Traditional Japanese Culture
as a master Craftsperson in Japan's NHK TV Program, "Bi no Tsubo"
his book "Kazari Kanagu no Kagayaki (ISBN978-4-915948-52-7)"
from Sasaki Printing & Publishing Co., Ltd.
|| Featured as a master craft person in "SERAI" Magazine August
Sendai Tansu is a kind of chest of drawers used for storage, and has
been made and used in the Sendai region (a castle town controlled
by the Date clan) since the end of the Edo period (1603-1868). It
is said that a prototype of the Tansu as it currently exists was established
in the early Meiji period (1868-1912). Sendai Tansu making was designated
as a traditional craft of Miyagi Prefecture in 1991.
traditional Sendai Tansu is accomplished by way of a three step process,
and there are three different artisans specializing in each of the
three (3) steps.
requires one to two years for these artisans to make a typical rectangular
Tansu (around 120 cm wide, 90 cm in high, and 45 - 90 cm deep). This
is truly a work of art embodied in each Tansu by these highly skilled
- Sashimono-shi (joiner) builds the main frame using several types
of wood: Keyaki (zelkova tree) for the drawer fronts, kiri (paulownia)
for inside of the drawers, keyaki, sugi (Japanese cedar), or kuri
(chestnut tree) for the sides.
- Nuri-shi (lacquer smith) coats the outer surfaces of the tansu
with Urushi (Japanese lacquer) in order to bring out the grain
of the natural wood and provide a luster to the finish.
Shokunin (blacksmith and chaser) makes handles, lock plates, and
other hardware in various sizes and shapes, and installs them
onto the Tansu. These 200~300 hand-crafted metal fittings make
each Tansu a unique "one of a kind" work of art.
37¾" high x 47" wide x 17½" deep
Courtesy of Honeychurch Antiques
two sectional clothing chest (isho kasane dansu) from the Sendai region,
north of Tokyo. The tansu with keyaki (zelkova) wood drawer and door
fronts with rich translucent red lacquer finish and sugi (cryptomeria)
doors and drawers with particularly spectacular embossed and repousse
iron hardware in the form of shishi (lion dogs) and peony (botan)
flower arabesque. With warabite (bracken) type drawer pulls further
decorated with a stamped design. The small hinged door in the lower
right hand corner (kobirakido) with small drawers behind for the storage
of personal valuables.
ANTIQUES AND GLENN RICHARDS
- Specializing in Fine Asian Antique Art -
We wish to recognize Honeychurch Antiques' Gallery Manager, Mr. Patrick
Campbell for the kind and generous support and partnership in providing
outstanding example(s) of the Sendai Tansu, and other Asian Art pieces.
The physical presence of the "finished product" greatly
enhanced the educational aspects of the art-form represented by Yaegashi
san allowing the matsuri visitors a wider and deeper appreciation
for the craftsmanship and the Sendai Tansu.
Established in 1963; Honeychurch Antiques is one of the
premier dealers of fine Asian art and antiques with branches in Hong
Kong and Seattle. Run by third generation antiques dealers John and
Laurie Fairman, Honeychurch is filled with a richly curated selection
of Chinese and Japanese furniture, sculpture, ceramics, screens, tribal
arts, architectural elements and ethnographic objects from across
Southeast Asia. Opening in 1998, Glenn Richards, our gallery warehouse,
specializes in both antique Asian furnishings and contemporary ceramics
for everyday use. In November, Glenn Richard's hosts an annual Mingei
Pottery invitational, which showcases the talents of over a dozen
Northwest potters working in the Japanese folk tradition. After a
recent move and renovation, both galleries can now be found under
the same roof in Seattle's South Lake Union neighborhood.
Monday-Friday: 10 am - 6 pm
Saturday: 10 am - 5 pm
Sunday: 12 pm - 5 pm