Commissioned Research: Research on the Old Documents of the Konishi Lacquerware Store, Wajima
Wajima City, Ishikawa
This survey began as a project commissioned by Wajima City. It is aimed to collate and catalog old documents in the possession of the Konishi Shogoro Lacquerware Store in the city’s Kawai-machi district. The specific tasks currently being undertaken are as follows: packing sets of historical records that were thus far stored in polyethylene bags and cardboard boxes into pH-neutral archival envelopes (each set individually as a rule); assigning a number to each set; and placing them in pH-neutral archival containers for storage. The subsequent step will be to convert all the documents to digital data and to catalog them.
Wajima lacquerware is a celebrated specialty product of this area, and the Konishi Shogoro Lacquerware Store, thought to have been founded in 1723, is a leading specialist outlet of this product. The store is said to have acquired numerous customers through itinerant trading in the Kyoto-Osaka area and through the establishment of wanko associations, a type of mutual aid society that allows payment for products to be tendered in annual installments (Illustrations: Wajima no Rekishi (2003), others). The sorting and cataloging of the store’s documents will prevent the loss of these valuable historical records; moreover, it will help researchers trace and chronicle the origin and development of Wajima lacquerware. The scrutiny of these records will further help elucidate a range of historical aspects such as the operation of lacquerware stores from the early modern area to the present day, the conditions of the artisans’ daily lives, and everyday urban life in Wajima.