Kokocool Trophy

We produced the trophy presented to the winning company in the MOTHER LAKE SELECTION, part of Shiga Prefecture’s Project Kokocool.
This trophy uses woodworking, colored lacquer, and maki-e to recreate Lake Biwa, a symbol of Shiga Prefecture.

TitleKokocool Trophy
TechniquesWoodworking, lacquer, maki-e, urethane finish, UV printing
MaterialsLake Biwa: Hiba wood, colored lacquer (high-gloss finish), maki-e
Base: MDF, urethane finish, UV printing
SizeWidth: 90mm; height: 120mm; depth: 70mm
ClientShiga Prefecture
DesignKatsushi Moriyama

Integrated traditional materials and techniques

Hinoki produced in Shiga Prefecture is used as the wood. For the finish, a light blue colored lacquer reminiscent of Lake Biwa’s waters was developed and applied with a high-gloss finish.
For the base, MDF was finished with a urethane. UV printing was used to print text onto the base.

  1. Woodworking

    Working with unfinished wood is an important initial process for creating the foundation or frame of a product.
    Woodworking at INOUE is based on the exacting quality found in the traditional arts that have been cultivated by the production of Buddhist altars in the castle town of Hikone since the Edo Period (1603-1868 CE). Craftsmen produced these altars by hand and without nails, demanding uncompromising quality in the careful selection of the best materials for use in mortise and tenon construction. These altars are durable enough to be handed down through many generations. Furthermore, we have connections with woodworking shops in other areas that specialize in mass production, allowing us to select the appropriate methods of woodworking for any project.

  2. Lacquering

    Lacquer is Japan’s exceptionally beautiful and high-quality traditional method of finishing. It is one of the most protective coatings in existence but can be very difficult to handle. Applying lacquer evenly requires the touch of a skillful craftsman from the first coat. The lacquer must be applied in many coats, from the first coat to the final finish, and the painting and polishing processes must be repeated many times over.
    A high-gloss lacquer finish, considered the highest level of lacquer, involves the painted lacquer being polished flat, after which raw lacquer is repeatedly rubbed into the surface and polished to bring out a deep luster that is nearly mirror-like.
    Based on our extensive knowledge of producing Buddhist altars, INOUE is able to offer the appropriate lacquering methods and craftsmen capable of implementing them, from a black, high-gloss lacquer finishes to a broad range of other coatings and lacquer colors.

  3. Colored lacquer

    At INOUE, our lacquer craftsmen have created a color chart with more than 800 colors, and use a unique, high-quality lacquer developed through many years of trial and error.
    Colored lacquers at INOUE are made by mixing natural lacquer with pigments, providing many original colors from the admixture of colors. However, colors such as pure white are not possible to create, due to the properties of the lacquer itself.

  4. Maki-e

    Maki-e is an artistic lacquer technique that involves drawing pictures or patterns using lacquer and then sprinkling them with gold dust or other fine powders. Maki-e originates in Japan and is one of the unique traditional techniques developed here. Maki-e includes many subsidiary techniques, such as hiramakie, takamakie, and togidashimakie. Furthermore, maki-e includes a wide variety of different end products, such as the expression of depth through different types or sizes of gold powder and the application of a variety of processing techniques.
    At INOUE, we have built a network of maki-e craftsmen with a wide range of skills, allowing us to provide the skills needed for any project, from projects demanding the utmost quality to those needing to fit into a tight budget.

  5. Finishes (cashew, urethane, etc.)

    At INOUE, the quality of our finishes is consistently and carefully scrutinized with a watchful eye. From sophisticated traditional techniques such as base coats of natural lacquer to cashew finishes made with the natural resin of the cashew tree, also a member of the lacquer family, to urethane finishes made with synthetic resins, we provide a wide variety of finishing techniques.
    Given our extensive network of craftsmen with unparalleled technical skill, we can fulfill requests for finishes of nearly any kind.