Bringing urushi lacquer to the streets

The Tsutsumi family has been specializing in the making of urushi lacquer since 1909. Takuya Tsutsumi, the successor of the business, has been rethinking the use of Japanese lacquer “urushi”.

Urushi is the natural resin collected from the lacquer tree, a plant native only to Asia. Refined into a coating and adhesive material, urushi has been used in Japan since the ancient Jomon period, 10,000 years ago.

In todays day and age lacquer is becoming more and more removed from modern life. He advocates for “Treating things with care, appreciation and respect.” by launching interesting projects exposing children to the qualities of urushi as well as collaborating with surfers, bikers and skaters.

The bike frame coated in urushi lacquer. I love how they kept it simple.

I am obsessed with the aesthetic of these collaborations and impressed at how they have kept things simple. Often times collaborations try too hard to innovate and lose the appeal by doing so. Now I’ll let the imagery and videos speak for themselves. You can also watch their short film on Vimeo.

You can find out more about these collaborations on or visit the official website of the family business (only Japanese)

Tsutsumi Asakichi Urushi
Hours: Weekdays 9am–5:30pm

Photo courtesy of Tsutsumi Asakitchi Urushi.

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