Legacies and innovation in the production of chochin – with craft-maker Kenichi Fushitani

The craft of making chochin, the Japanese paper lantern, is said to date back to the Muromachi period (c. 1333 – 1573) when it was introduced to Japan from China. At that time it took the form of kago chochin, a basket lantern made of a rigid frame of bamboo and covered with paper. By the end of the Muromachi era, a collapsible version of the chochin appeared and was mainly used in Buddhist temples and funerary practices.

In the Edo period (1603–1867), paper lanterns were widely produced and became affordable, entering into the everyday life of common people and businesses. During this period, the city of Nagoya was one of the centres in the manufacturing of chochin, thanks to its good supply of washi and bamboo, the main materials for producing paper lanterns. Moreover, the increasing population of the city provided the workforce needed to produce the component parts of chochin.

At this event, Japan Society warmly welcomes Kenichi Fushitani, the second generation of chochin craftmaking company Fushitani Shoten in Nagoya. Fushitani will look back at the history and techniques of paper lantern manufacturing in Nagoya and at how the chochin style of lighting has shaped the lives of Japanese people. Employing traditional techniques passed on in his family since the Edo period, Fushitani will also offer a live demonstration of the handmade process of making a lantern.

Date: Wednesday 27 September 2017, 6:30pm
Venue: The Swedenborg Society, 20-21 Bloomsbury Way, London WC1A 2TH

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