January 28, 2020
Every year, KIKUKAWA fabricates pentagon shields, “Hounou-date”, to pray for safety and prosperity in the upcoming year and to exemplify our New Year’s resolution. On the shield, there are three objects that denote the Japanese Kanji character for water, 水. Each object symbolizes our prayer: the “sword” to ward off evil, the “sickle” to bring a good harvest, and the “key” for prosperity.
The root of this tradition lies with Japanese blacksmiths fabricating “Hounou-date” as a talisman against fire. By dedicating a shield with a water kanji at the beginning of the year, the craftsmen cleansed their workplace and prayed for another safe year.
KIKUKAWA still honours this practice as a sign of respect for the artisan handiwork. To hone and pass on our craftsmanship, the fabrication of the shield is carried out by younger members and Vietnamese trainees.
As per tradition, three key materials and finishes were chosen.
These shields are on display at various places within our Shiroi factory.