Tokyo has been producing quality silverware for a long time, including kitchen utensils and dishes. Just like the last interview, we had a chance to talk to Mr. Soutatsu Kamikawa, who is a certified traditional craftsman of silverware.
Starting Out With the Equipments
It was Soutatsu’s dream to be the heir of Nisshin Kikinzoku since he was a child. He has been watching his family members produce quality silverware ever since he could remember, and he was finally allowed apprenticeship when he was 18 years old. His siblings are also silverware craftsmen and their crafts are full of originality.
One of the things that caught our attention at their workplace was the equipments. What surprised us the most was these equipments were also created by the Kamikawa family. As you can see from the video in the beginning of this article, the craftsmen hit the silver plate to this iron bar called the “Ategane” when crafting silverware. The shape of Ategane is very important in this process and theres different bars for every shape of silverware crafted. These iron bars are forged and hammered in this workplace also.
“The wooden stump used to hold the Ategane is actually handmade also. We find the right wood and carve it out to make the perfect one. Even when we become silverware craftsmen, we are not granted permission to touch silver at first. We must learn how to craft your own Ategane because without the right Ategane, there would be no silverware. We must learn what type of Ategane we need to create in order to fulfill the design of the desired silverware. The craftsmanship starts from that part. “
Soutatsu states. There were even Ateganes from his grandfather’s generation and sometimes, these equipments cost way more than the silverware itself.
Being said, of course silver is the main ingredient to this craft. The characteristics of silver is quite interesting also.
“One of the things I find interesting is that silver is just like human. It gets stronger when it gets hit and becomes more beautiful when polished and taken care of. It also loses it’s shine when left alone for a long time. It’s just like us human beings and I never get tired of it.”
The former youngest official traditional craftsman stated. He believes it’s his responsibility to pass on the beauty of silverware to the world, not only the technique used to craft them. His love for silver is way bigger then we can ever imagine and the way he talks about his love had us hooked to the wonders of this lustrous metal.