«When I turned 20 years old, I decided to become a craftsman. I wanted to do something that no one else was doing.»
Yuki Hachiya is a young craftsman living and working in Kyoto. Hachiya san was born in Yamagata prefecture and decided to move 540km south to Kyoto, to learn the art of making Uchiwas.
Hachiya san in front of his atelier in Kyoto.
Where were you born and raised? I was born in Yamagata in the northern part of Japan.It is a peaceful place with a lot of nature. Why and when did you decide to become a craftsman? and why did you come to Kyoto? When I was 20 years old and I was also interested in product design.I’ve always liked making things myself. I came to Kyoto to learn making Uchiwa fans. Kyoto has a good balance between history, tradition, culture and nature. How did you learn your craft ? How long did it take you and who taught you ? I learned how to make an Uchiwa from a craftsman who works at a long-established Uchiwa shop.I was taught only the rough method, and then I just moved my hands to learn.With so many trials and errors. It took me five years to learn the basic work.It’s been almost 10 years since I started this work, but I’m still learning every day. What is the most enjoyable part of your work ? And the most difficult? The moment when I can do the work I want to do and when a beautiful uchiwa is completed. The most difficult is to process the bamboo. But it is also very interesting. What do you think about Japanese craftsmanship? How do you imagine the future of crafts? Japanese are diligent and delicate, so I think they are able to make wonderful items.But sometimes,they stick too much to old practices. Unfortunately , I think the number of craftsmen will continue decreasing in the future.
Why is it interesting for you to collaborate with me ? Because of your beautiful design and creation, which is different from mine, it is fresh to me. Do you have a mentor ? Or people who helped you or influenced you ?I can’t think of a master for me.To put it bluntly, craftsmen from the past whose names I don’t even know are my masters.Everyone I’ve met has influenced me and helped me. I like looking at various designs and creations of the present and the past. I am always thinking about how to get inspiration from those creations in making my Uchiwa. How do you picture your life and yourself in 5 years ? 10 years ? 5 years :I want to be able to do more beautiful work and creation than I am now. 10 years :I want to spread those works and creations to people all over the world.
Favorites places your like to go in Kyoto ? In Japan ?My favorites places in Kyoto:Kamo River and its surroundings. In Japan: in the snowy landscape of my hometown Yamagata and beautiful islands in Setouchi.