Tin was first introduced to Japan about 1300 years ago. Since then, it has been used for sake and tea utensils and prized because of its rarity and antibacterial properties. Osaka Suzuki, established in 1949, has inherited the techniques and knowledge of its predecessors, while striving to create products that meet the needs of modern lifestyles.
Tinware that has been loved throughout the ages
Tinware has a long history, with a tin water jar discovered in the ruins of an ancient city of the Egyptian dynasty around 1500 BC. Tinware was brought to Japan by envoys to T'ang China in the 7th to 9th centuries, and several pieces of tinware are preserved in the Shosoin Repository in Nara Prefecture. As tinware was as valuable as gold and silver, only a privileged few were able to use it as utensils at the court and highly ranked shrines.
Later, the demand for tinware increased as it became popular among the general public, and by the middle of the Edo period (1603-1867), it was produced in Osaka, which had a good distribution system, especially in areas such as Shinsaibashi, Tenjinbashi, and Tennoji, and established itself as a regional specialty. At its peak in the first half of the Showa period (1926-1989), it is said that more than 300 craftsmen competed with each other in Osaka.
During World War II, the shortage of manpower and raw materials made it difficult to continue the business, but after overcoming these hardships, it was designated and approved as "Osaka Naniwa Suzuki", that means a traditional craft, by the Minister of International Trade and Industry (now Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry) in 1983.
Osaka Suzuki is the largest manufacturer of Osaka Naniwa Suzuki. The technique originated with Ihee the first, who had a root in Kyoto, and flourished in Osaka for generations. In 1949, Yaichiro Imai established the Osaka Suzuki Co., Ltd. and the craftsmanship has been handed down from generation to generation.
An overwhelming presence that combines beauty and functionality
Osaka Naniwa Suzuki accounts for 70% of the tinware market share in Japan, of which Osaka Suzuki produces most. Currently, Osaka Suzuki is headed by Tatsumasa Imai, a "modern master craftsman", and employs 20 men and women. Of these, five, including Tatsumasa, are nationally certified as traditional craftsmen.
Tin is an extremely soft metal that is difficult to machine. Each piece of tinware made by Osaka Suzuki is carefully finished by skilled craftsmen using traditional manufacturing methods. Based on the belief "beautiful, but more importantly, practical", Osaka Suzuki pursues beauty for use, not just as a decorative artifact. They are proud of their simple and beautiful designs that combine beauty and functionality.
While there is a shortage of successors among traditional craftsmen throughout Japan, Osaka Suzuki is characterized by the active participation of young craftsmen. While preserving the traditions built up by their predecessors, they are also eager to develop new techniques and products such as tumblers, beer mugs, and stylishly designed drinking cups.
The "Suzu Urushi" series with lacquer
Osaka Suzuki is currently developing the "Suzu Urushi" (= laquered tin) series in collaboration with Japan's leading lacquerware production areas such as Wajima, Aizu, and Tsugaru.
By applying a lacquer coating around the tinware, the "quick heating and quick cooling" characteristics of tin and the "excellent heat and cold retention" characteristics of lacquer are combined. By combining these two characteristics, a new, beautiful, and easy-to-use vessel is created. The color of lacquer changes over time, so why not enjoy the changes in expression as you use it in your daily life?
Founded in the late Edo period by Ihee the first, Osaka Suzuki is the largest manufacturer of Osaka Naniwa Suzuki, a traditional craft. Based on the belief "beautiful, but more importantly, practical", it strives to produce tinware that combines beauty and function.View the works of "Osaka Suzuki"