Reintroduction Series

Urushi -Japanese Lacquer

Part I

Urushi - The Lacquer that Tells the Tale of the Land of the Rising Sun

Urushi(otherwise known as Japanese lacquerware)is a distinguished artform and material that commemorates the tale of Japanese culture. A genuine Urushi lacquerware piece crafted through traditional techniques possesses unsurpassed quality, a gleaming exterior, and a body capable of enduring generations of use. These qualities made Urushi a commonplace material during the Jomon and Meiji period, adorning the homes of Japanese people, as religious items, eating utensils, and furnishings. Given this extensive history, the Japanese government dubbed Urushi an important intangible cultural asset. However despite Urushi’s immense impact, the beauty of the complex techniques that make Urushi lacquer the treasure that it is has remained underappreciated.

This resulted in cheaper quality Urushi becoming more prevalent, tainting the renowned stature of the artform. We at Wancher believe that the handcrafting process behind creating Urushi is a quintessential part of the artistry. These traditional techniques are a legacy to be protected, and an art to be appreciated. From the hardships endured harvesting the Urushi, to the arduous task of applying its thin layers onto different materials, waiting for it to dry completely before adding more layers then polishing again and again- all these actions hold the heart of those who came before us. The core of Urushi’s charm lies in the techniques that were discovered and continuously honed throughout centuries of Japanese history.

Wancher aims to preserve the artform through fountain pens coated in True Urushi and perfected using the same traditional methods. Only top master Urushi makers are qualified to make such quality Urushi to the standard Wancher aims to uphold.

Urushi - The Omnipresent Medium Throughout Japanese History

Urushi contains properties that prevent damage and protect against moisture. This resulted in it playing a pivotal role throughout the course of Japanese history. Protecting the Japanese throughout times of war as the sealant for swords and shields. Enriching their everyday lives by protecting their bowls, plates, and pots, beautifying their homes as decorative items, and aiding them to exercise their faith as material for temples, shrines, and statues for prayer.

Urushi has served as a vessel for the Japanese in expressing their love for the arts and their shared values. This is particularly seen in the special techniques developed to incorporate gold and mother of pearl decorations to the Urushi- making it a desirable medium to create beautiful and long lasting designs. With these techniques, stunnings artworks were created exhibiting the heart and creativity of the past. Another example is in the traditional repairing technique to fix broken ceramics called ‘Kintsugi’, wherein Urushi is used as a binder to mend the broken ceramics and express the philosophy of seeing the beauty in imperfections.

In essence, in the heart of Japanese culture and history there lies Urushi. The omnipresent medium that has touched the lives of generations and served as a vessel for art and philosophies.

However, the story does not end here.

In the contemporary world, Urushi made using traditional techniques has been neglected in favor of the mass-produced and low.

As one of our Urushi masters once said ‘Once the traditional technique disappears, we cannot revive such valuable art’ we share the same sentiments and so made it our mission to continue to spread True Urushi to the world and continue the legacy through the True Urushi collection.

Wancher’s Drive to Continue A Legacy

It all began with a single phone call, a moment that ignited a spark within Wancher and Wajima Urushi.

Hopeful and passionate to bring Japanese traditional arts to the world, Wancher contacted Taya Shikkiten, a company with over two centuries of experience creating authentic traditional Urushi crafts, to collaborate with. With Taya Shikkiten’s track record of creating quality Urushi crafts that lasts for generations. Wancher knew they would be the perfect partner to create irreplaceable traditional art that transcends generations.

Together, with Taya Shikkiten we introduced a new world of traditional products to a contemporary audience with the goal of elevating the appreciation of cultural heritage in our everyday lives.

To this day, we continue to carry out our mission alongside the Urushi masters at Taya Shikkiten.

Watch our Interview with Mr. Takahiro to learn more about stories behind Japanese Lacquer

A Contemporary Reconstruction of History in Your Hand
 - Urushi Pen Making Process -

To handcraft a quality Urushi pen through traditional methods is no easy feat. On average, the process of creating a high quality Urushi commodity takes at least 3 months or more. Moreover, a lifetime of dedication to this traditional art form is required to be a qualified Urushi master.

Wancher’s True Urushi Dream fountain pens consist of two main materials for the pen body. Ebonite and Urushi. The Wancher Dream Pens are crafted from ebonite, a traditional Japanese fountain pen material. The Urushi on the other hand is sourced from the Japanese varnish tree (Rhus Vernicifera). Due to its poisonous properties in its raw form, only an experienced professional is able to harvest small quantities of this raw Urushi sap at a time. After it is harvested one must wait three to five years before it can be treated and used as lacquer. This highly technical process leads to true Urushi being an expensive raw material.

Centuries of Refined Artistry, A Legacy, and a Fountain Pen

Our True Urushi pens embody the dedication and passion for the arts cultivated throughout generations and history. We aim to place in your hands the continuation of a legacy in the form of a high quality pen made with traditional techniques, dedication, and passion of Urushi masters who have dedicated their life to the art.


・Wajima Museum of Lacquer (Urushi) Art . History and culture of wajima-nuri:Wajima Museum of urushi art. (n.d.). Retrieved March 31, 2023, from

・Beyond the time, Japanese elegance|urushi nation joboji. Urushi Nation Joboji. (n.d.). Retrieved April 5, 2023, from,