【Introduction to Traditional Crafts】 ~Inami Sculpture (Toyama Prefecture)~

【Introduction to Traditional Crafts】 ~Inami Sculpture (Toyama Prefecture)~


Inami Sculpture



【Production area of Inami Sculpture】

Nanto City, Toyama Prefecture



【What is Inami Sculpture?】

Wood carvings that are carved with skilled techniques that have been handed down from ancient times in the Inami district of Nanto City, Toyama Prefecture.

The materials are mainly domestic wood such as zelkova, camphor, and paulownia.

With themes such as flowers and birds, fish and animals, dragons, and people, craftsmen create a wide range of items such as transoms between the ceiling and lintel of a Japanese-style room, Buddhist crafts, screens, and ornaments.


Craftsmen continue to actively challenge new possibilities while respecting ancient traditions.

For example, sculptors who create “wooden chandeliers” and “electric guitars carved with dragons and lions” using Inami carving techniques are appearing one after another.


In May 1975, it was designated as a traditional craft.



【Features of Inami Sculpture】

referring source:Inami Sculpture Cooperative


A major feature is the dynamic and delicate sculpture that has a three-dimensional effect, as if it were alive.

These can be said to be the result of the precise woodworking techniques of the craftsmen.


More than 200 chisels and carving knives are used to complete a single carving, and rough carving and finishing carving, which will be described later, are performed.

A particularly representative technique is “Sukasibori” used to create the transoms.

The 3D carvings are layered over and over on both the back and front, creating a sense of dynamism in which animals and dragons seem to pop out at any moment.

Also, no matter which side you look at, you can feel the depth carved into the many layers.



【History of Inami Sculpture】

In 1763, Zuisenji was destroyed by fire.

Sanshiro Maekawa, who was a sculptor for Kyoto Hongwanji, was dispatched to rebuild the temple.

It is said that a local carpenter who was participating in the reconstruction work inherited his carving skills from Mr. Maekawa.


Local carpenter and ninth-generation Shichizaemon Banshoya, who was involved in the reconstruction, carved the famous Shikidaimon (also known as the Chrysanthemum Gate) at Zuisenji Temple, and the Shishi-no-kootoshi decorations on both sides of the gate.

These are his masterpieces, and they make full use of the technique of relief carving, and are said to be masterpieces among masterpieces that remain in the history of Japanese wood sculpture.



In the Edo period, carpenters often served as sculptors at the same time, and were contracted to do carving work for temples and other places.


In the Meiji period, people began to appreciate the high quality of their carving techniques and artistry, and some people started to specialize in the work of carvers.

At first, they were mainly engaged in shrine and temple sculptures and decorative sculptures for temples and shrines.

However, he gradually began to carve transoms and ornaments of houses.

As a result, it became widely recognized by the general public, and demand increased.


In 1915, “Study Ranma” by Goun Oshima (1st), the master of Inami carving, won the honorary gold medal at the San Francisco World Exposition.

At that time, the number of people engaged in carving increased greatly, partly because the Inami carvers trained many disciples.


In 1947, the Inami Wood Carving Technician Training Center opened, and in 1958 it became a prefecture-certified vocational training center.


In 1991, it started the Nanto City Inami International Wood Sculpture Camp, inviting sculptors from around the world under the theme of “connecting the world through wood carving.”

Held once every four years, it is an international exchange event that represents Toyama Prefecture.


Through these activities, the number of young people fascinated by Inami wood carving has increased.

Currently, there are more than 200 engraving technicians in Japan, and they are aiming for further development.



【Production process of Inami Sculpture】


referring source:Kitanihon Shimbun


The main ingredients are domestic camphor trees, zelkova trees, and paulownia trees.

First, in order to reduce the amount of moisture contained in the wood, it is naturally dried for about half a year to a year.

After drying, cut to size according to the size of the product.


The rough sketch is drawn on Japanese paper and then copied onto wood.

The reason craftsmen do not draw drafts directly on the wood is that the drafts disappear as they proceed with the carving, making it impossible to judge whether the product has been completed according to the design.


②Rough opening

This is a process in which parts that are not needed for production are roughly shaved based on the sketch of the wood.


③Rough removal

This is the process of finely carving the wood that has been roughly shaved.

Using tools such as chisels, the craftsman carves until the overall image of the work, including the outline, can be seen.

After carving, it is left to dry naturally for about a month.


④Rough cutting

referring source:Inami Sculpture Cooperative


It is a process in which 200 to 300 types of chisels and carving knives are used to shape both the front and back sides of the rough-cut wood.

Using a technique called “sukashibori”, the work is carved into a three-dimensional work that has depth when viewed from either side.


⑤Finish carving

This is the process of smoothing uneven or rough surfaces.

What makes it unique is that it is prepared without using any sandpaper.

A small planer is used to work fine details, and the unevenness of the surface is evenly flattened.


The craftsman then paints or adds additional decorations if necessary.

Finally, check to see if the product is finished according to the design.

If there is a problem, fix it “damage fix” and the work is completed.





Please be aware that we do not,

under any circumstances, sell alcohol to minors.

I'm sorry, You don't buy this product.

Prease enter your birthday.

Prease enter your birthday.: