Hirota Urushi

Handmade in Japan by Master 廣田洋子 - Yoko Hirota

Hirota Urushi is the Japanese traditional Urushi arts hand-crafted by master Hirota Yoko (廣田洋子). Master Hirota's artworks are unique in designs and techniques which are hard to find among common Urushi lacquerwares.


1. Main Techniques in Hirota Art

There are 4 main techniques normally used in master Hirota's art: 櫛目堆漆塗 (Kushime Tsuishitsu Nuri) - 金箔 (Kinpaku) - 石目堆漆塗 (Ishime Tsuishitsu Nuri) - 金彩ひび塗 (Kinsai Hibi Nuri).


Kushime (櫛目) is the act of combing to create a pattern for artistic purposes such as pottery. Tsuishitsu Nuri (堆漆塗) is Master Hirota's original Urushi technique where multiple layers of Urushi that is combined with egg white or Ranpaku (卵白) and applied thickly using special flat tool.


Kinpaku is the technique of laying thin gold leaves on art objects, writing tools, tableware, and religious objects to refine and polish the appearance. The most challenging part is ensuring the sheet must adhered following the surface, whether it's flat or surved depending on the fountain pen shape.


"Hibi" in English is translated as 'crack'. Master Hirota found the fractured aesthetic through repeated trial and error. The secret to making the black urushi cracked and revealing the gold is by incorporating egg white or Ranpaku (卵白) to create a unique yet artistic trait.

石目堆漆塗 蒟醤
Ishime Tsuishitsu Nuri Kinma

This technique is using multiple layers of Urushi. The surface is carved to create hollows that resemble rock perforations. A different color of Urushi is filled into the hollow and finally polished to make the surface flat.

Fountain pens from Hirota collection are handmade one by one and require years to create.
Therefore, each of them is only available as few as one piece each time.

2. Chawan-iro

Expanding the range of Urushi art, Master Hirota has developed her technique of applying Urushi to something that represents Japanese kilns and pottery. "Chawan" means a bowl in Japanese. Each fountain pen in the "Chawan" series has a subtle pattern and gradation that resembles the bowls that Japanese people use in Japanese tea ceremonies, which emphasizes the humility of aesthetics.


Chawan plays a significant role in Japanese culture, especially in the Japanese Tea Ceremony. Originating from an appreciation for aesthetics, the art on the tea bowl has become an important aspect of the Japanese Tea Ceremony itself. During the ceremony, after the host serves the guests the prepared Matcha, they are encouraged to take notice of the visual appeal of the bowl.

Master Hirota is inspired to paint the Urushi using the same aesthetics for this collection. Each pen carries the finest quality details from her decades of experience as an Urushi master.

3. Hirota Kinpaku Maki-e

A Symphony of Flora: Pen's Artistic Story


What makes the pen special

Master Hirota's artisan fountain pen design is a testament to meticulous craftsmanship and unwavering attention to detail. In her latest creation, she weaves a narrative of storytelling through meticulously hand-drawn Maki-e, artfully depicting the enchanting beauty of flora.

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4. About Master Yoko Hirota

With a great interest in traditional handmade crafts since elementary school, master Hirota decided to choose this path and developed a strong passion for Japanese Urushi-making traditions. Master Hirota now has more than 30 years of hands-on experience in making Urushi and Maki-e.

Hirota's artwork focus on the stylish minimalism and durability of the objects. Either it's a pair of chopsticks that serve everyday meals or it's an ornament used in the palace, it must last long and express the aesthetics of Japan's art.

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Hirota Urushi