The brand Shizuku has received Good Design Award 2017.
The judges commented that “the project was designed to protect the water sources and mountains in Kamiyamacho, Tokushima prefecture, by using cedar trees which are not suitable for commercial use. The wood grain textures in their product are rotated 90degrees, and this method indicates quite a possibility of newness and strength as a product. The entire branding strategy through the Website and graphicsare well done, and the fact that this helps the tradition of the potter's wheel artists to be maintained should be admired. We hope that they and the locals will continue this project for a long term”.
We are very happy to be acknowledged for not only what we sell, but also to what we aim to achieve through that.
We would like to continue our hard work to spread the ripple by our Shizuku (Shizuku means a drop of water in Japanese).
Here is the homepage for the Good Design Award 2017.
For more information about the Good Design Award 2017, please refer to this.
Rain falls, but...(Where does the rainwater go?)
In the past, the mountains were covered with natural forests. The sun shined into the forests and the soil was soft enough to contain plenty of water. Rainwater was processed and transmitted into a river steadily.
However, the current artificial forests are exclusively made up of conifers. They have been planted too densely for the sunlight to reach to the ground. Bushes and grasses don't grow under the trees. The soil gets hard and can't keep a lot of water in it. Therefore, rainwater runs onto the surface at once.
As the water retaining capacity of the mountains is getting weaker, less and less amount of water runs into the rivers.
To conserve the riverwater
30% of the riverwater in Kamiyama has lost since 30 years ago. In order to increase the amount of the riverwater again, it is important to cut down crowded cedar trees and to let the sun shine onto the mountain ground. We have come up with new ways to utilize the cut-down cedar trees.
￮ Creating cedar wood products
￮ Utilizing cedar wood as firewood
We don't need a massive investment, but we would like to start from what we can do by ourselves.
We received Good Design Award 2017 !!
Good Design Award 2017!!
"Kamehachi" Series Newly Released!
It's been 3 years since we've first launched our SHIZQ brand, and we now newly release the "Kamehachi" series!
"Kamehachi" was designed for the upper class use, goes several more times through the "lacquer-wiping" process than the "Kame" series. Increasing the number of times being lacquered from 5 to 8, and being polished more than 3 times as usual, we took more time and work in finishing them up.
Come, feel and see the sophisticated glaze.
See more details at the online store.
Come check it out!
Pop up showcase in Amsterdam
The Kamiyama SHIZQ project will hold a pop up show in Amsterdam.
We hope to see you.
Amsterdam,Netherlands:On March 19th
Event information(Japan Cultural Exchange HP)
On display at Expo 2015 in Milan!
The Kamiyama SHIZQ Project will be displayed in the Japanese Pavilion at the 2015 Milan Universal Exposition.
We are among an exhibition of products representing Tokushima Prefecture at the "Azzurri Giapponesi Tokoshima" exhibition space in the Japanese Pavilion at the Milan Universal Exposition.
Milan, Italy: From September 6th to 9th (4 days)
Our development of new products for the exhibition is making progress. They will be well worth waiting for!
SHIZQ staff are on site at the exhibition, and plan to take the podium to introduce the products and hold some special events.
If you visit our exhibition, feel free to pick up and have a close look at the SHIZQ products.
Our website store is open to the world!
A new SHIZQ online shop has opened, for people living overseas.
You can order SHIZQ products from outside of Japan.
SHIZQ products, created from Japanese cedar and the craftsman's skills, are the perfect gift for people overseas.
Detailed information about each of our products, and our SHIZQ Project book are on sale in digital form.
Please go ahead and check these out for yourself.
Our brand new WEB site is open now
SHIZQ project has just launched with many helps and cooperation We would like to thank everyone involved.
We would like SHIZQ project to proceed step by step.
Hirose Kiyoharu, Kinetoscope
Adding brand new
values to cedar wood
Keep wood handy
wooden tableware for everyday use
Would you like to feel the warmth of wood in everyday life? We have created wooden tableware made of wood from forest thinning in Kamiyama. Hopefully, our products will suit your life style.
We are happy if you think of the mountains and the rivers in Kamiyama while using our products.
※The benefit is going to be used to revive the mountains and the rivers in Kamiyama through "SHIZQ Kamiyama Water Conservation Project".
Tsuru Series is featured with its pure and warm wood texture. Tokushima cedar wood has not been widely used for construction and woodworking purpose, because the core part of the wood is reddish. However, this reddish pattern is particular to Tokushima cedar wood and we took its unique pattern into account when we designed the cups and bowls. The skillful experts, who have 45-year experience as a woodworking turner, have made these original products possible.
Enjoy uniquely different wood textures of each product.
Kame Series, the products of traditional urushi lacquering, are made through an elaborate process of brushing, wiping and drying. First urushi lacquer is brushed on the surface of the wood, the excess is wiped off, and then the products are dried for a day. This single process is repeated five times before they are finished with vivid wood texture and glossy surface. Urushi-coated wood gets stronger as the time passes by. As you continue using the products, you will find subtle changes of urushi texture and you can keep using them for generation.
Enjoy the beauty of Japanese craftsmanship
Craftsmen supports SHIZQ project
Cedar wood, which is rough-grained and relatively soft, is not the best material for processing into products such as tableware. Therefore, many people have been avoiding it before. However, we have been working on to develop the products from cedar wood, using power of design, in order to address the problem of abandoned artificial forests.
SHIZQ project is supported by skillful craftsmen in Tokushima. They do each process of selecting, drying, cutting and coating of wood. The delicate, mature skill of craftsmen has made our cedar wood products possible.
What is Firewood Station?
Part of forest thinning wood is turned into the products, but how about the rest of the wood? Making them into firewood and using them as communal energy sounds good, doesn't it? This is how we have come up with the idea of Firewood Station.
Firewood Station is a place where forest thinning wood is gathered and made into firewood with kind help of neighbors and voluntary staff. People can take firewood back home for their woodstoves, woodboilers and even for Ofuro, Japanese bathrooms.
Firewood Station turns abandoned wood into a practical form of energy people have used for a long time.
How does Firewood Station work?
Anybody in need of firewood can use Firewood Station for free. Wood from forest thinning is always stored at Firewood Station. You can come and chop them into firewood anytime you want, and then you get half the same amount of dry firewood as you have chopped. The rest half is going to be left for someone in need of firewood next year. Instead of chopping wood, you can also pay some donation to get dry firewood. The donation is going to be used as an operating fund of Firewood Station.
1.Collecting wood from forest thinning
SHIZQ project staffs carry logs from forest thinning down the mountain after we get permission from the mountain owners. We are also offered cedar logs and Japanese cypress logs by the forest maintenance project of Green Valley Inc, a non-profit organization in Kamiyama. Those logs are stored temporarily at a log yard.
How does Firewood Station work?
2.Preparation and wood chopping
SHIZQ project staffs prepare wood in advance by cutting logs to wood of a certain length. Then, we organize wood-chopping workshop to make them into firewood.
Fresh firewood is stored in drying racks. It takes 6-12 months before it becomes ready to get burnt.
How does Firewood Station work?
When you finish chopping wood, put the fresh firewood on the drying racks. You will get half the same amount of dry firewood as you have chopped.
You can also get dry firewood by paying donation.
We organize wood-chopping workshop every now and then.
You can have fun by trying chopping wood and carrying logs down the mountain with others. You will also see what mountains and rivers look like now. Workshops take place sometimes from October to February, when cedar trees need cutting down.
The details of the future workshops are going to be announced on this website.
the decrease of
Mountains used to be covered with natural forests.
In the natural forests of the past, different kinds of conifer trees and broadleaf trees used to gradually grow bigger and taller.
The sun shined onto the ground, where bushes and grasses grew under the forest canopy. The soft soil mixed up with fallen leaves and grasses contained lots of water under the ground. The mountains with a rich groundwater were able to pump rainwater into rivers little by little over a long time span.
Why did natural forests decrease rapidly?
During the World WarⅡ, tons of trees were cut down to meet construction and fuel demand of wartime supplies and the mountains became bare of trees.
Then, after the end of war, tree planting was encouraged through subsidies to prepare for growing industrial demand. Because cedar trees grow fast and were thought to be the best building material for houses, the mountains were turned into artificial forests, almost exclusively of cedar trees.
Reasons for abandoned cedar trees
After the Japanese mountains were planted with cedar trees on a large scale, free trade was applied to timber trade. As cheap imported timber increased in the Japanese market, the Japanese cedar trees lost their most value. Japanese cedar trees are no longer cut down because they do not sell well.
People have become reluctant to take care of artificial forests of almost no value. Without pruning and thinning, crowded forests do not allow the sun shine to the ground, where grasses do not grow and the soil gets harder and does not absorb rainwater a lot. This means rainwater runs onto the surface at once.
As the mountains of artificial forests have lost their water retaining capacity, less water filters through the earth to form groundwater, resulting in the decrease of the riverwater.
What can we do to increase the riverwater?
The river called Akui river runs through Kamiyama, where it rains annually about 2,000 mm and the mountains are covered with large groves of trees. However, it is said that 30% of water in Akui river has lost since 30 years ago.
A way of retaining riverwater is forest thinning. When trees are selectively removed from the forests, plants on the ground receive more sunlight to grow and the ground becomes able to absorb more water. More rainwater is expected to filter into the river through the ground.
SHIZQ project is working on to bring as much sunlight as we can back into the forests, because we consider forest thinning is the most important to address the problems of artificial forests and decreasing water resources.
SHIZQ project started with a question of a designer who had moved from Osaka to Kamiyama: What can a designer do to the problem of artificial forests and decreasing water resources? Although the river water has been decreasing little by little for many years, an effective solution to the problem has not been found so far. Besides, the same issues are happening all over Japan.
The designer, together with Green Valley Inc, has started the project to take action for the future of 50 years from now. We hope we will discover new values in so-called "valueless cedar wood". We hope we will first establish a regional economic circulation so as to encourage larger economic circulation.
SHIZQ Kamiyama Water Conservation Project is funded by Tokushima prefecture in the scheme of "Pilot Project of reviving forests by power of design".
Kinetoscope Kamiyama Satellite
Jinryou Honuetsuno 90, Kamiyama-chou, Tokushima, 771-3310, Japan
Kaneizumi Timber Mill (Cooperative Partner)
Mr. Kaneizumi, who runs a timber mill and owns land in mountains in Kamiyama, takes care of trees and cut logs into timers all by himself. He has a good understanding of our project and tells us a lot mountains and trees in Kamiyama.
He has kindly offered us timber for the drying racks at Firewood Station and helps us at wood-chopping workshop. We are talking about going into his mountain together and trying cutting down cedar trees in the autumn.
The Miyatake brothers, who run Seishu Workshop together, have over-40-year experience as a woodworking turner. They even make different blades suitable for each material and productions by themselves.
Soft and intractable cedar wood is shaven elegantly thinner by their hands. It would have been impossible to make SHIZQ products without them.
"We value any kind of wood equally, so if asked, we will shave cedar wood as well." The Miyatake brothers say enthusiastically and continue: "If anyone in Kamiyama is interested in wood turning, we will come to teach them anytime."
We would like many people to support SHIZQ project, so that we can leave as much SHIZQ(a drop of water) as possible for future children.
You can support us by using our products, and also by choosing our products as your thoughtful gifts to someone. With your help we can continue our projects to conserve the water resources.
We would also like donation from people and organization willing to support SHIZQ project. We, in advance, appreciate your understanding and kind supports.
Platina Supporter, single unit of donation is ¥100,000
We will send a full set of Tsuru Series as a small thank to those who make donation and become Platina Supporter. Please contact us before you send donation.