Metal fittings are used as decorative purpose in shrines and temples
of Nikko. For example, Yomei-mon Gate of Toshogu Shrine is well
known. Size and shape are not always the same, but these are called
Kazari-kanagu (Decorative metal fittings)
An expert makes and repairs the Kazari-kanagu.
The expert is called Kazarishi. Mr. Shigenobu Suzuki (1925-) is
one of the few Kazarishi in Japan. He started learning when he was
14 years old. After that, Mr. Suzuki has handled production and
fixation of Kazari-kanagu in the nation wide.
All work is handmade and it is told that "20
years learning is required for only Nanako." The Nanako is
the generic name of small round ditches, which are put around the
outstanding point of Kazari-kanagu by equal arrangement. He uses
a tool called Tagane. Mr. Suzuki stops breathing when he carves
one by one because he needs very careful attention. By the way,
the Tagane also is handmade.
"It is not a craftsman if he cannot make his own tool."
Mr. Suzuki stressed.
The Kazarishi will be allowed to start working
on patterns such as hollyhocks (Family crest of Tokugawa) and Karakusa-moyou
(Roughly mean Japanese style Arabesque design) after 20 years working
on the Nanako only. Moreover, five additional years will be required
to be independent.
"Have I ever been satisfied with my work?
Never ever. Because something is wrong always. " Mr. Suzuki
continued. However, his contribution was recognized by the government
and he was awarded Oujuhoushou prize in 1991.
"I was born in Nikko, and will die in Nikko
after all. I leave Toshogu to the generation of posterity, and I
will continue my job for that, until I die." He concluded.
There are 5 followers of Mr. Suzuki including his
son. His grandchild has been becoming a follower of Mr. Suzuki.
Three generations of Mr. Suzuki's family work for Kazari-kanagu.