Want to know about Traditional Craftsman and Living National Treasure!
Do you know what a " Traditional Craftsman" or a "Living National Treasure" is?
Feels like something special, doesn't it? But most of you probably don't know.
In this article, we will explain the difference between a Traditional Craftsman and a Living National Treasure.
What is a Traditional Craftsman?
Traditional Craftsman is a national certification by the Traditional Crafts Industry Promotion Association. Those who meet the following conditions can take the tests.
✅Craftsman engaged in the manufacture of traditional crafts designated by the Minister of Economy Trade and Industry.
✅Reside in the production area in principle with at least 12 years of work experience.
There are three types of tests: knowledge test, practical skills test, and interview.
"Knowledge test" is a written test of specialized knowledge.
"Practical skills test" and "Interview test" require a high level of skill and expertise, so the examination is delegated to the respective production area associations.
They have the opportunity to take the exam once a year, and the pass rate is about 65%. Being certified as a Traditional Craftsman means that a person has passed these three types of test.
This means that the person is qualified to have superior skills and qualities.
However, even without this qualification, there are many wonderful Traditional Craftsmen with high skills.
What is Living National Treasure?
Living National Treasure is the common name for holders of Important Intangible Cultural Properties designated by the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology under the Cultural Properties Protection law, who have been "individually certified" as such. It is not an official name.
There are three types of certifications for holders of Important Intangible Cultural Properties: "individual certification", "general certification", and "holder organization certification".
The "individual certification" is for specific individuals who are recognized as having a high level of mastery of intangible skills, and the maximum number of certifications is set at 116.
Once the number reaches 116, new certifications will be available in the event of a vacancy due to the death of an individual already certified.
On the other hand, there is no cap on the number of certified Traditional Craftsmen mentioned above, which is 4,441 as of February 25, 2023. Therefore, it is very likely that the number will continue to increase.
Morever, there are two categories of Important Intangible Cultural Properties, "performing arts" and "handicraft techniques," and the number of Living National Treasures in the "handicraft techniques" category, who produce traditional handicrafts, is less than half of those certified in the latest survey.
They are the chosen ones.
Traditional craftsmen and Living National Treasures, similarities and differences.
Let's start with the differences.
(1) Living National Treasures include the field of "performing arts.
(2) Traditional Craftsman is a title given after passing an examination, and Living National Treasure is a title given by deliberation and resolution.
(3) There is no upper limit to the number of certified Traditional Craftsmen, the maximum number of certified Living National Treasures is 116.
(4) There is a fee for taking the examination and registering for certification of the Traditional Craftsman. If certified as a Living National Treasure, you will receive a grant of 2 million yen.
On the other hand, what traditional craftsmen and living national treasures have in common is that they both aim at preservation and promotion.
It plays an important role in maintaining and improving high standards, while ensuring that the tradition is firmly passed on to future generations.
Look at the works of Traditional Craftsmen and Living National Treasures!
Finally, several works by artists who hold the titles of Traditional Craftsmen or Living National Treasures are introduced from Takumi Japan's website.
◆ Works by Traditional Craftsmen
「Kyusu teapot, Bell shape, Weeping cherry tree, No.11」Tokoname ware／Gyokko
「Heart Sutra bracelet Kanji outside」Tokyo silverware／Kenichiro Izumi
「Old-fashioned glass, Hand-polished, Spiral, Amber」Edo kiriko cut glass／Hidetaka Shimizu
There are other artists who hold the title of traditional craftsman, so it is fun to look for them on the website!
◆Works by Living National Treasures
「Works by Living National Treasures」Arita ware／Imaizumi Imaemon XIV
「Inlaid pot, Akae Flower and grass pattern」Mashiko ware／Tatsuzo Shimaoka（Died 2007）
「Iron sand akae bowl, Round pattern」Mashiko ware／Shoji Hamada（Died 1978）
Currently, Takumi Japan carries the works of these three artisans.
Tatsuzo Shimaoka and Shoji Hamada have already passed away and no new works are being produced, making them very rare. It is worthwhile just to see them, so please visit the website.
Takumi Japan official website