What is your vision for the transmission of technology in the future?
That’s right. Good skill can mean many things, but our corporate philosophy is to “find the best solution through technology and communication. So, I guess you could call it technology that is not self-satisfied. Even if we talk about the same lacquering, there are different needs for Buddhist altars, floats, and cultural assets. It is surprisingly difficult to keep this in mind, and craftsmen tend to be stubborn. Fortunately, in our case, we paint a variety of things, so I think we have developed flexibility.
Are there more young craftsmen?
There are no limited Nagoya butsudan craftsmen; my brother is the only one in his 20s, and I am the only one in my 30s.
The problem with traditional crafts is that many companies cannot afford to hire people, so there are no job openings. But our company has been getting a little busy lately, so I’m thinking I should be brave and try to recruit. Around five years ago, we decided to shift our focus to the market while maintaining our lacquering techniques. If we focus too much on butsudan (Buddhist altars), we will lose business if the demand for butsudan decreases, so we learned techniques for restoring cultural properties and entered the field of restoring cultural properties, and we also restore floats for festivals.
What do you think it means for Marusue Butsudan or for you personally to make things by hand in this day and age?
I think that handmade products are interesting, exciting to use, and give us a sense of spiritual satisfaction. I think it is cheaper to make things by machine, and the quality is better, but if you rationalize it too much, it becomes boring.
When I was born, there was no concept of SDGs or ecology. Handmade products were expensive and time-consuming, and were not highly valued in that era. However, I feel that the tide is turning now. For example, Buddhist altars are not disposable, but can be restored and used again. The fact that such a function exists in the first place is what makes it interesting, isn’t it? It is a matter of evaluation standards, but machines are faster and cheaper to use. However, whether it is interesting or not, or whether it makes you happy or not, is a different question. I think that the quality of the handiwork is conveyed in the finished product.