Visit craftsmen – Koshu hand-carved seals The craftsmen of koshu hand-carved seals growing while having fun

July 23, 2018 We visited Koga Mochizuki, who is exhibiting at a special exhibition at Aoyama Square.

Koshu Hand-Carved Seal: Koga Mochizuki

Koshu Hand-carved seals are traditional crafts of Yamanashi Prefecture. At the end of the Edo period, stamps were made of various seal materials by woodblockers who handled inscripts in Kofu City. The stamps are made of thorn or buffalo, and convey the taste of hand carving to the present day.

How I started koshu handcarving seals

I’ve been around since I was a child.

When Mochizuki was in elementary school, the seal making was in its heyday, and more than half of his classmates worked on the seal.

Even so, there were not enough mans, and it seems that people in the neighboring town also entered the side job.

I even went to see the seal making in the social studies tour of the elementary school, and because I made the seal at Mr. Mochizuki’s house, I thought that I would naturally become a person who made it.


After the heyday of the seal…


However, when Mochizuki decided to grow up and pursue his path to craftsmen, the heyday of the seal had passed, and even if he wanted to become a craftsman, his parents came out against it.

Even so, Mochizuki has pursued his path as a craftsman and has continued to this day.




Study in seal making

A seal to remember as an apprentice

Even now, there are no schools in Yamanashi Prefecture that teach koshu hand-carved seals.

This is because it was originally done as a family business, so it is something that you can learn by passing it on from parent to child, or stealing your master’s skills by becoming an apprentice and becoming a full-fledged person.

But by the time Mochizuki-san wanted to learn technology, his father had died.

For that reason, I decided to go to a school in Kanagawa Prefecture where I could learn to make seals, although it was in other prefectures.

First of all, from the place where the depth is put out

The photograph is placed step by step in the process of making a seal, but it can be roughly classified into three processes, such as “cloth character (character in)”, “rough carving”, and “finish”.

The first step is the carving process in the middle. In the photo, it is the third and fourth from the right. And when this carving is done, it will be entrusted with the finish.

Since the master enters the inscripting until the end, it is the most important process in the handcarving seal, and it takes time to get to the middle.


In creating a collaboration work

Collaboration with more than 18 craft production areas

Over the past few years, Mochizuki has been collaborating with people and designers from other production areas. For example, in collaboration with designers who write flower individual crests, we are taking on various challenges such as making a picture of the flower emblem of the person’s birthday as a seal, and incorporating Shinshu tsumugi and Hakata-ori into the seal case.

Recently, we have collaborated with more than 18 lacquerware production areas such as Kishu lacquerware, Aizu lacquerware, Echizen lacquerware, murakami wood carving compost, etc., and have the seal coat and seal (seal material) write paints and makie of the production area to make a seal. Mochizuki’s new efforts have created an unprecedented wind in the traditional craft industry itself.

A hanko that you can use casually at any time

“I want to make it a seal of recognition, not a registered seal.”

The seals mr. Mochizuki makes are easy to stamp, and customers who use it have said, “I want to make it a seal of recognition, not a registered seal.”. In addition, there was a request to use it as a stamp that can be pressed more easily in the seal made in collaboration with the lacquerware production area, and he said that he came to make seal of the seal size of the recognition seal.

It seems that he thought that hand-carved seals were often used as important hankos rarely used, such as corner marks and real seals, but it seems that customers who say that they do not want to let the seal made with great care sleep in the safe, and they want to make seals that can be used easily.

The charm of koshu handcarving seal

Hand-carved seals that you want to continue carving

Mochizuki is obsessed with the charm of the Koshu HandCarving Seal. My job is to make koshu hand-carved seals, but my hobby is to make koshu hand-carved seals. That’s why you may come up with new things with various ideas.

The more I carve, the better I make it, the more I’ve done it, the more I’ve done it, just because I want to make it an easier-to-use seal.

Koshu handcarving seals also have succession problems, but if Mr. Mochizuki is having fun making seals, I think that there will be young people who want to make them in the same way.


Special Exhibition “Takumi no Zai – Summer”

Mr. Mochizuki who talked to me this time,
I am experiencing production at Aoyama Square until tomorrow with the special exhibition “Takumi no Zaza – Summer”.

Please come and see me.

What do you think?


    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    GIPHY App Key not set. Please check settings

    Written by 工芸プレス


    Visit craftsmen – Mashiko ware The ability to continue to make Mashiko ware that never gets tired

    In search of a taste that cannot be talked about in mass production