Sold at the D-BROS TOKYO, KIKOF is a brand of products jointly developed by Kigi (in-charge of art direction of some D-BROS products) and traditional, skilled artisans whose activities are based around Lake Biwa in Shiga Prefecture. We asked Miki Terada of Kigi who was involved in the founding of KIKOF to write her thoughts about the brand. She says that a certain Shigaraki ware artisan was crucial to the birth of KIKOF.

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“Was there any resistance on your part when you were presented with this design?”

That’s a question that you could ask Mr. Imai (the artisan), and it’s something I’ve heard a few times. Speaking of ‘Shiragaki ware,’ it’s famous for fox ornaments and large-sized ceramics such as flower pots and others for the garden, but KIKOF products are as thin and light as a sheet of paper. Their shapes and colors aren’t really found in conventional Shiragaki ware, and from their design, you can’t immediately tell that they are ceramics. KIKOF products couldn’t have been made without developing new techniques, and even without a guarantee that they could actually be made, I think that undertaking their design was a very huge risk.

We have this strong impression of artisans as people who “respect tradition,” so it’s quite natural for your question to be asked. But Mr. Imai thought about it a bit, wondering how he can make this kind of ceramics that he has never seen before. He didn’t even consider not doing it, and I don’t think he even muttered “I won’t do it” under his breath.
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Mr. Imai is a fifth-generation artisan of Marushi Pottery, a pottery kiln in existence since 1877. Despite this, he and his associates learned new techniques such as molding and casting which they have never done before. After much trial and error, they succeeded in creating KIKOF’s products.

With his extensive knowledge about the characteristics of Shigaraki clay, and having the skills needed to fully utilize those characteristics, plus a desire to take on new challenges, KIKOF would never have been born if it weren’t for Mr. Imai.

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Mr. Imai likes to drink, and whenever we eat out he would always drink a lot. But no matter how hungover he is, he would always wake up at 5:00 am the next day, take a walk and go to the kiln.

We are now in the middle of creating new KIKOF products; and their degree of difficulty design-wise is high compared to the designs Kigi has presented so far. I think Mr. Imai is now breathing in the fresh morning air as he takes his walk, and is thinking of ways to realize the new designs while uttering “I don’t know, this might be difficult…” just before he enters the kiln for further trial and error.

Because of KIKOF, Mr. Imai says that he is happy that young people are now visiting the kiln because of their interest in the new possibilities of Shigaraki ware. He’s always smiling, and as he speaks his eyes crinkle all the more.

KIKOF began with the hope for “continuation,” which the word “tradition” embodies. This path is slowly being created; and our wish is that it will be a brand that will continue to evolve with Kigi’s design and the artisans’ desire for a challenge acting in concert.

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Because mass production isn’t possible, KIKOF products are sometimes sold out at the D-BROS TOKYO, and we request your patience since each piece is carefully handcrafted. We hope that when you do receive your order, you will take a step back from your everyday hustle and bustle, and spend some time relaxing and enjoying your KIKOF pieces at your table.

>>About KIKOF
KIKOF emerged from the endeavors of the “Mother Lake Products Project.” It is a brand of products jointly developed by Kigi, a design company involved in various fields including graphic design, product design and fashion centering on Tokyo, and skilled artisans trained in traditional handicrafts whose efforts are concentrated around Lake Biwa and its environs in Shiga Prefecture.

▼It is available for purchase on the D-BROS TOKYO!
D-BORS TOKYO

▼Buck Nomver about “KIKOF”
We now sell “KIKOF” on the D-BROS WEB STORE!

▼Buck Nomver about “Kigi”
Part 3 of A Dialogue with Satoru Miyata (First Half), with Two Guests from KIGI (Ryosuke Uehara and Yoshie Watanabe)
Part 3 of A Dialogue with Satoru Miyata (Second Half), with Two Guests from KIGI (Ryosuke Uehara and Yoshie Watanabe)
Interviewing D-BROS Art Director Ryosuke Uehara of Kigi about his Thoughts on the Production Process of “ROLL12|’16,” the 5th Installment of D-BROS’s Calendars for 2016.
A World of Colors Drawn by Yoshie Watanabe, the Creator of “names of colors”: the 4th Installment of D-BROS’s Calendars for 2016.