Kokontozai: KASHIYUKA’s Shop of Japanese Arts and Crafts / Copper Grater
June 8, 2020 | Design, Art, Travel | Kokontozai: KASHIYUKA’s Shop of Japanese Arts and Crafts / Copper Grater | photo_Keisuke Fukamizu hair & make-up_Masako Osuga editor_Masae Wakotranslation_ Mika Yoshida & David G. Imber
Searching all of Japan for handcrafted items that express its heart and soul, our proprietor, KASHIYUKA, presents things that bring a bit of luxury to everyday life. This time out she came across a pure copper grater, favored by professional cooks. This grater’s tiny teeth are set at a workshop in Saitama prefecture.
The teeth appear to be lined up at a perfect one-millimeter pitch, but in fact, with items such as this there is what is known as a “genial irregularity” that is only found in items crafted by hand, and it adds both to their appeal and functionality. On this occasion I encountered just such an everyday device in the hagoita-shaped copper grater.
Ōya Seisakusho [Ōya Manufacturing] was established in 1928, and has been making copper graters for three generations. The copper base plate is made in Niigata prefecture. Here in the town of Wako, in Saitama prefecture, the process of metate, setting of the tiny teeth one by one, using a chisel and hammer, is performed.
“Copper graters have been manufactured since the Edo period [1603-1868]. Copper is hard and robust, yet easy to work by hand, and it has antibacterial properties as well,” says the master craftsman, Mr. Sumito Sunohara, while showing an entry in an Edo-era encyclopedia clearly depicting such a grater.