January 5, 2017
Every year, KIKUKAWA fabricates pentagon shields, “Hounou-date”, to pray for the 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 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 artisan handiwork. To hone and pass on our craftsmanship, the fabrication of the shield is carried out by younger members and Vietnamese trainees. The chosen materials and finishes are those that were most commonly used or that became the topic of conversation as a reminder of our company’s founding principles and spirit.
This year, three shields were fabricated.
- –Sulfurized bronze with the water kanji in mirror polished stainless steel
- –Sulfurized bronze with the water kanji in mirror polished then Silky blasted stainless steel
- -Bright dip anodized Aluminium with the water kanji in hairline or vibration finish
The bright dip anodized Aluminium is a highly reflective finish that emulates the sheen of stainless steel. The Sumida Hokusai Museum drew attention last year as the first architectural project in Japan to employ this material as an exterior.
These shields are displayed on the walls of our factory. Please take a look should you ever have a chance to pay a visit.