Tour No.04 "Nigiri-Basami in Ono"
Introduction of tour
Date : 2006.4.10
Location : Ono
Yuka strongly suggested to offer Japanese small scissors ? 'nigiri-basami', because our customers must like it for its convenience and cute form. 'Nigiri' means 'hold', and 'hasamai(basami)' means 'scissors' . Nigiri-basami is traditional Japanese small scissors, and all Japanese must have memory that mother used it when she did sewing. It can be hold in hands with using thumb and forefinger, so it is especially convenient when sewing. Later I came to know that nigiri-basami have been used from Edo Period(1603-1867), and way longer history I imagined before.
Nigiri-basami have been so usual item, so I didn't notice it has much value for introducing at our site. I knew Ono city is one of famous product center of scissors and knives. Ono city is in Hyogo prefecture, and not far from our office. We looked for artisans who make nigiri-basami, and we came to know an artisan, who has made only nigiri-basami for 50 years. We are very interested in him, and visited his workshop on 10th April.

Snapshot of tour

It was a rainy day, and I drove approx 2 hours to Ono city. Cherry blossoms were full bloom, but rain and wind cherry blossom petals were being blown out. Ono city is perfectly ordinary rural city. Before visited his workshop, I tried to find something special to introduce at our site, but I couldn't find anything. Finding restaurant for lunch was also difficult! I directly went to his work shop. With navigation system I reached his address, but at the place I couldn't find his house. I called him, and he asked me, 'Can you see watch tower?'
There was an iron tower very near to me, but I couldn't imagine it was 'hinomiyagura'(watch tower). In town we never see 'hinomiyagura' recently. In this Ono city, if the fire occurs, bells on watch tower are tolled, and village people must gather with 'firemen's happi', which we usually sell at our site.

Ono city scenery - typical scenery of Japanese rural district.

Cherry blossoms are in full bloom.

We had to worry about cherry blossoms might be blown by rain and wind.

Hinomiyagura ( watch tower) near his workshop.

Small old man with baseball cap came with smile.
He was the man, Fujiwara san, artisan among artisans!
He is 68 years old, and very handsome man. His workshop was recently rebuilt, and just resumed work. He showed me the every process. To make this small nigiri-basami, there are about 40 processes, which need elaborate and very skilled hand works.
Before visiting his workshop, I never know how this small nigiri-basami are elaborately made with artisan's soul and pride. He looks to polish iron in very easy way, but to I understand how it is difficult to sharpen the edges. At the last process he bends straight iron very easily, but the both tips match with precision. What an incredibly skilled work it is! Nigiri-basami is made only a stretch of iron, and doesn't have joint or weld parts. You must be able to imagine how difficult to match the edges with only bending.
'To know the quality of scissors', he said. 'Nip a wet tissue paper with scissors' tip. And draw it slowly. My nigiri-basami CUT the wet tissue, but not good ones will strain and tear. Cutting WET tissue is difficult if the blades are not enough sharp'.
He never boasted, but he seemed to have very stiff proud about his product and his skills.
He showed and told us his technique very pleasantly. He looks very happy and seems to be very satisfied with his whole life as nigiri-basami artisan.
He made me feel refreshed.
We hope you come to like his soul and product at our site, and make his dream come true by buying his product!

Fujiwara san is very handsome man, and always smiling.

His fingers - fingers of genuine artisan.
His workshop. Recently he built this house.

Workspace for grinding and quenching.

His product. This piece has his own brand name - 'Yamaei'.

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