Approximately since its founding130Suzuki Ishitarō Tansu is a long-established workshop that has been operating for more than 20 years, making paulownia products that incorporate tradition and modern innovation.4We spoke to Hiroaki Suzuki, the current owner.
 What made you decide to pursue a career in crafts, your background, and the history and origins of your workshop
Founded in 1887, the Suzuki Ishitarō Tansu store sells Kamo Kiri Tansu, a traditional craft from Kamo City, Niigata Prefecture.(Paulownia chest of drawers)” is a long-established store. At our workshop, we carry out every step from material selection to finishing, using traditional techniques that have been passed down over many years and focusing on using high-quality domestic paulownia wood. In addition to making pure Japanese-style Kamo Kiri tansu, which were considered a standard wedding accessory in the early Showa period, in recent years they have also been making ``Japanese modern'' products that fit modern lifestyles.
Mr. Suzuki said that his family business, Kiri Tansu Workshop, was his playground since he was a child. After graduating from a local high school, he entered a university in Tokyo. After graduation, he found a job in Tokyo, but returned to his hometown a few years later and started working at Kiri Tansu. I became a craftsman. He says that at that time he entered the craft industry without any hesitation.
“We have a workshop in Kamo City, Niigata Prefecture, which has been famous nationwide since the end of the Edo period and is still the largest producer of paulownia tansu in the country.While we specialize in purely Japanese-style Kamo paulownia tansu, we also offer modern We strive to create simple and timeless products that fit into the lives of people living in the world."
We continue to create paulownia products that are perfect for the users, with the craftsmanship of faithfully inheriting tradition and the spirit of playfulness and ingenuity.
 What we are doing and what we are conscious of to stimulate our five senses
Suzuki says that while meeting people and walking around town, he often comes up with hints for his next step in manufacturing.
``I walk around various towns, look at things, and think about things like why people gather here and why people buy things, and use that as a reference when making things. Relationships with people are also important, and exhibits are important. By actively participating in meetings and interacting with people from other industries, you can learn about the world's trends.These activities will give you inspiration as to what you should create from now on.''
In his daily life, Mr. Suzuki values the seasonal changes that can only be felt in the countryside and a diet that adapts to them. Perhaps it is precisely because he is immersed in the comfortable and slow flow of time that he is able to accurately grasp the rapid changes in modern lifestyles and develop techniques that modernize traditional crafts.
 What he values when creating his works, what he is particular about, what he wants to convey through his works, and what he wants to achieve through his works.
Even as Mr. Suzuki continues to make paulownia tansu as a matter of course, he continues to question ``the meaning of making a shape out of paulownia'' and thinks ``Even if I can't buy it now, I want to buy it someday'' and ``I want it someday.'' We are particular about making things that can be used.
``I want to make things that people want to keep using even if they are repaired.Also, I want to make things that the creators themselves want, that are not absolutely necessary for daily life, but that they feel is good.'' This will be a clue to conveying the goodness of traditional crafts to people.”
Some of the paulownia products made by Mr. Suzuki have a playful element to them, such as the paulownia eco speaker that plays music from a smartphone.
“The Paulownia Eco Speaker produces a gentle tone similar to the Japanese koto.Speakers also produce completely different sounds depending on their material and shape.”
Through paulownia items that anyone can easily incorporate, we are proposing new traditional crafts that will enrich your modern life.
 What we are trying to do and what we would like to try in order to pass on traditional techniques and culture
``Many traditional crafts that have been used since ancient times are suited to the Japanese climate,'' says Suzuki.
``I believe that trying new things while preserving the goodness of Japan will create a feeling of ``nostalgic but new'' and will lead to the inheritance of traditional crafts and Japanese culture.''
By continuing to create products with new ideas using traditional techniques while maintaining the quality of the craftsmanship and quality of the materials as traditional crafts, I believe that its appeal will be passed on to the next generation.
You can view the products here ↓
At SERENDOUCE CRAFTS, Japan'sWe propose the beauty and comfort of modern living with traditional crafts.
You can also view my works on Instagram.