The beginning of Okubo Casting …
was about 670 years ago.
The history of casting in this area goes back to 14th century(Ryakuou Period). Back in that time, Okubo was known as one of the most popular places for casting products with numerous foundries.
It is said that Okubo in Kashiwazaki-city is the place where the traditional Japanese lost wax method was introduced in the Niigata Prefecture in the late Edo-period.
This guild of artisans that lived in Kawachino-Kuni (Osaka prefecture now) moved to Kouchi in Kashiwazaki which was a village in a mountainous area and started casting.
The guild of casters who settled in Okubo reached their peak around the first half of the Edo-period (1603-1868) due to the necessity of salt pans and temple bells. Decreased demand of these products caused a decline in casting foundries.
While in this declining period, Hara Tokusai & Takusai brothers who were casters, introduced this innovative lost wax method and opened up new product lines of artistic items.
Takusai (1831-1867)’s method has been passed down to the first generation Souemon Hara and has been continued to this date. Our family has been practicing casting for 20 generations and using lost wax method of casting for 4 generations. During the war time (WW 2) Souemon Hara was acknowledged as one of the skilled artisans and continued his craft through these difficult times. The skill and art became officially acknowledged by the Japanese Government under ‘Intangible Cultural Asset of Niigata Prefecture’ since 1978.