The Invitation To Japanese Traditional Comb  Ver.2.09
  Japanese Traditional Combs;Craftsmans lives

  The best craftsman of the Oroku comb in KISO

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Sukeichi Kawaguchi

川口助一 Oroku-comb is special product that has been made since the Edo period in the Kiso region. The comb with about 100 teeth on a narrow board of 9.0cm in width was high popularity, and became the key industry of the KISO village as a practicable products.

However, the demand of wooden comb decreases by the comb made of plastic, the introduction of the foreign brush, and the change in the shampoo custom after World War II.

The number of comb workmen decreases to about 10 people at the end of the 1960's though the comb of 80% of a nationwide share was supplied in Yabuhara at the season.

As the manufacturing method of the comb, the machine-made became mainstream. becouse that can be made faster than traditional handmade. Therefore, craftsmen of handmade genuine comb was only 2 persion at that time.

The Kawaguchi family was making Orokugushi from generation to generation in Yabuhara. The manufacturing method of Orokugushi is inculcated by his father Mr. Sukeroku, and he becomes independent at the age of 15, and spends the life of the comb making.

At the end of 1960,Because the workman who acquired a fine handmade technology was almost gone, he determines that it is necessary to succeed to a traditional technique of Orokugushi to the next generation for the hometown.

"Future generations of the traditional craft of 350 years!"
December,1973.He begins the surveillance study on the old document and the succession activity of a traditional technology.

"All detailed combs are made from the manual work. There are 100 numbers or more of teeth of combs that I make. It is a limit to apply teeth in 50 combs made with the machine. Then, dirt and the dust of the hair cannot be removed, and the surface of the hair cannot be made beautiful.
I want everyone to make beautiful hair ..knowing the goodness of Orokugushi for the modern woman... "
Mr.Kawaguchi had said so before the life. And,he kept making the Orokugushi.

The handmade Orokugushi and Mr.Kawaguchi's comb production technology has been succeeded now.
And,Only several including Takeshi Shinohara(Skillful craftsman in Shinshu) keeps preserving the tradition of Orokugushi in KISO.

He was born in 1914. He establishes the Kawaguchi atelier in 1969. He was recognized to Nagano Prefecture excellence skilled person governor commendation "Skillful craftsman in Shinshu" in 1989. ,and "A Nagano Prefecture intangible cultural asset: man prefecture treasure"in 1995. He was commended by the Minister of Labor in 1999. He won country excellence skilled person "Contemporary master craftsman". He was given Medal with Yellow Ribbon in 2002.
He died in 2003(age at death 89 years old).

大深 Minabari Ohfuka-Sukigushi  103teeth

深川 Minabari Fukagawa-Sukigushi  100teeth

はたぐし Hata-gushi:Comb used to weave

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