Even on holidays, Koizumi always sits at his work desk. This is also out of consideration for customers who can come and order only on holidays. He accepts orders from people coming all the way from all over Japan including Kyushu and Hokkaido as well as tourists from abroad. All of these people are those who have been very impressed by the imprint created by Koizumi’s seal.

 

Because it had been his father’s principle that skills can only be acquired through harsh training conducted by others, Koizumi began his training under an unrelated teacher in his teens. However, skills were something to steal at the time, and Koizumi was never taught step by step. Although there were times Koizumi took interest in fishing in his early years, he did not indulge in hobbies, realizing that he had no time to spare for fishing. Instead, in order to become more skilled than anyone else, he has continued to improve his skills. He studied calligraphy from a renowned calligrapher, and also received training under great masters of seal-engraving. Today, these teachers’ great grand-children come to learn from Koizumi, who spares no effort to hand down his skills.

 

Koizumi’s forte and exclusive feature is the “sasa-moji,” which is a character style with elegant tapered lines resembling the bamboo leaf. The character style had once been used also in seals of imperial mausolea, and was popular during the Meiji and Taisho periods but since then has deteriorated imperceptibly. The seal, with “sasa-moji” that has been revived by Koizumi in his way adhering to the fundamentals, is truly a work of art.

 

In a small workshop, an exquisite and elaborately wrought seal that is the only one in the world is created. And when the seal is used with the special cinnabar seal ink Koizumi makes, the imprint created by the seal will continue to remain brilliant red even a few centuries later as the owner’s sign.

 

Kei Koizumi

Born in 1930 in Kyoto City. In 1997, he received the Kyoto Prefectural Traditional Industry Award for Superior Craftwork. In 2003, Koizumi Konando was given the Kyo-no-shinise (Long-established Business in Kyoto) Award by Kyoto Prefecture. In 2004, he was recognized as Contemporary Master Craftsman (Minister’s Award for Distinguished Technicians) by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare. In 2009, he was awarded the Medal with Yellow Ribbon. His eldest son Takashi Koizumi exercises his skills as the fourth-generation heir.

Translation: Media Research, Inc.

Spirit and Spine
‘Kitohone’

created by
THE SPIRIT AND SPINE
CREATIVE FORCE,Tokyo

project direction
Gaku Okubo (ISUKE INC.)
photography
Yoshitomo Tanaka (Vivot)
site design
ISUKE INC. and ICA
title calligraphy
Kenryo Hara (Kikkokai)