Art & Design

Landscapes of lights and shadows. Legacies and innovation in the production of chochin – with craft-maker Kenichi Fushitani

27 September 2017, London

The craft of making chochin, the Japanese paper lantern, is said to date back to the Muromachi period (c. 1333 – 1573) when it was introduced to Japan from China. At that time it took the form of kago chochin, a basket lantern made of a rigid frame of bamboo and covered with paper. By the end of the Muromachi era, a collapsible version of the chochin appeared and was mainly used in Buddhist temples and funerary practices.


In the Edo period (1603–1867), paper lanterns were widely produced and became affordable, entering into the everyday life of common people and businesses. During this period, the city of Nagoya was one of the centres in the manufacturing of chochin, thanks to its good supply of washi and bamboo, the main materials for producing paper lanterns. Moreover, the increasing population of the city provided the workforce needed to produce the component parts of chochin.


At this event, Japan Society warmly welcomes Kenichi Fushitani, the second generation of chochin craftmaking company Fushitani Shoten in Nagoya. Fushitani will look back at the history and techniques of paper lantern manufacturing in Nagoya and at how the chochin style of lighting has shaped the lives of Japanese people. Employing traditional techniques passed on in his family since the Edo period, Fushitani will also offer a live demonstration of the handmade process of making a lantern.


Kenichi Fushitani is the head of Fushitani Shoten. This family company was founded by his father Koshichi Fushitani who decided to start his own business in 1962, after serving a ten-year apprenticeship in the traditional Edo techniques of chochin. As his eldest son, Ken Fushitani is now the second generation of the family to lead the company. He values using the traditional techniques, materials and tools, but also wants to stay relevant to modern life. Although chochin for religious purposes (for funerals, festivals & shrines) are still their main products, his goal is to also make high quality items for people to use in their everyday life.


To reserve your place, please call the Japan Society office on 020 3075 1996 or email


Admisstion: £5 per person

Booking deadline: Monday 25 September 2017

27 September 2017, 6.30pm

The Swedenborg Society , 20-21 Bloomsbury Way (Hall entrance on Barter St), London WC1A 2TH

Tel: 020 3075 1996

The Japan Society, Fushitani, Sansho,