Mitsui Golden Takumi Award Winner "Akai Ringo"


In August 2019, we released the iron kettle "Akai Ringo", which was also created to train young craftsman.

This iron kettle has been involved in the entire manufacturing process by the younger craftsmen.

In the past, it was customary to train in each process one by one perfectly, however, we thought it would be better to make the iron kettle while gaining a better understanding of the whole process and understand why each process was necessary. So, I started the project.

In order to nurture young craftsmen into the masters of the future, we do not shorten the process like cheaper products, but stick to manufacturing with no inferior functionality by handling the entire process as a "traditional handmade product".


We are pleased to announce that we have been awarded the 3rd Mitsui Golden Takumi Award as we praised for our iron kettle "Akai Ringo" and our efforts. We also received the Most Popular Award, which is given to the winner who receives the most support from the general public.


Mitsui Golden Takumi Award|Mitsui Public Relations Committee YouTube


The Mitsui Golden Takumi Award is an award established in 2015 by the Mitsui Public Relations Committee, which is composed of companies such as Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, Mitsui Fudosan, and Taiju Life Insurance company. The aim is to commend individuals or organizations that are further developing by actively introducing new ideas.

The comments from the Mitsui committee members are quoted below from the Mitsui Golden Takumi Award website .

Under Kazuyasu Tayama (President of Tayama Iron Kettle Studio), a traditional craftsman of Nambu ironware, as his advisor, the company has inherited his skills, and has been highly evaluated for its efforts in human resource development, such as improving the working environment for craftsmen and organizing diverse members. In particular, the "Akai Ringo project", which reduced the number of decorative processes so that even young craftsmen could be involved in the entire process of manufacturing Nambu ironware, which is said to take 10 years to master, was well praised.
This is because, the project have greatly changed the situation where shortening the processes to compete with cheaper alternatives, using mass-produced materials and relying on mechanization, but making it possible to offer products that are not functionally inferior to conventional traditional crafts through the use of ingenious mechanisms.

We have entered the Akai Ringo and its efforts, which have been evaluated in this way, under the title of "Human Resources Development and Inheritance of Tradition by Updating the Way of Training".

It is said that it will take 10 years to become a fully mastered craftsman in the Nanbu Tekki industry. All of our iron kettles are handmade, which is even more so.

There are more than 100 processes in making iron kettles, and it is common for younger craftsmen can work on only less than 10 of them.

Taking Kazuyasu Tayama, a technical advisor, as an example, he started as an apprentice servant immediately after graduating from junior high school, and although he was engaged in work except when he was sleeping, the time when he was able to be involved in the entire process was a few decades later.

Also, the acquisition of skills was not taught by the master, but by seeing and stealing the master's work and creating his own work outside of work hours.

However, in the modern society where working hours have become severe, it may not be allowed for both the company side and the employee side.

To begin with, there are many people who are high school or college graduates at the earliest, and aspire to become craftsmen after gaining some social experience.

In other words, compared to the past, the time available for training is limited.

The inheritance of techniques is not something that can be easily solved by increasing the amount of time spent in the workshop, but we must not neglect the quantity either. In short, we thought that we needed to "devise a way to overcome the time barrier" in order to pass on our skills. Therefore, instead of limiting the processes involved just because they are young, we planned an iron kettle that is involved in all processes in manufacturing. That is " Akai Ringo ".



As I mentioned at the beginning, tI believe that it is more beneficial for the future generation to learn how to make products while deepening their understanding of why the process is necessary through actual experience, rather than moving forward only after they have mastered each process on their own. In addition, I believe that the best way to grow is to see what you have created become a product, go to the market, and receive a response. 

In general, I hope that the environment and structure will help them overcome the time barrier. 

 

In addition, for those who provide guidance, it is necessary to review the guidance method so that young craftsmen can be involved in the entire process as early as possible, so that they can be actively guided. 

 

Nambu ironware has a history of shortening processes, using mass-produced materials, and mechanization in order to compete with cheaper alternatives as the social environment changed. While this can be said to be a development of tradition, I believe that it is also an aspect of deterioration.

With this project, we hope to fundamentally change our approach to meet consumer needs.

We are proud of the fact that we can offer products that are completely comparable in function at a lower price by devising a system that will benefit both the craftsmen and the consumers.


In any case, as I have also won the Most Popular Award, I am able to work on the production of Akai Ringo with the support of many people.

I really appreciate all supports.

We will do our best and keep working on making iron kettles with all our effort.

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