With the roots of our foundation in Aichi Prefecture from when there was a castle town of the Owari Tokugawa Family in the Edo Period up until now, our predecessors have passed on techniques and methods of traditional craft. I believe it is my mission to preserve them and pass them on to future generations.
Ando Syouten was founded in Gifu City 102 years ago in 1921 by Yasukichi Ando.
From an early age, the founder, Yasukichi Ando was an apprentice to Nagoya’s chochin or bonbori lantern craftsman. Later, he began his own business in Gifu, where he fell in love with the lands and the beautiful Nagara River with its clear stream. He rented a corner of Jozaiji Temple and began his career as a chochin and bonbori craftsman.
At that time, Gifu City was a location where many craftsmen gathered to specialize in techniques such as “kuchiwa” (hoop frames), ”metal fittings”, “pasting”, “woodwork” and “painting”, respectively to create chochin and bonbori. The finished product was sent on a cart to Gifu and Nagoya’s chochin wholesalers.
An interesting episode of the founder still remains today. Yasukichi, who couldn’t write letters, began to “draw” the letters from bottom to top on the curved surface of the chochin and bonbori. Usually, writing the letters on the curved surface makes the letters thin and difficult to read. However, Yasukichi’s letters, drawn in that particular manner, were easy to read when seen from the bottom. Although he could not write letters on paper, he was able to write them on chochin and bonbori.
The family crest and the techniques of the letters have been handed down to us, even to this day.
Afterwards, the second-generation owner, Senkichi Ando focussed on manufacturing bonbori and selling dolls to spread them in the Tokai region with the help of his wife, Masako.
The third-generation owner, Yukinobu Ando is the current president of the Ando Syouten. Referred to as a man of ideas and a revolutionary in the industry, he has been involved in developing various products and projects.
Some of them include the Doraemon Chochin, Mizu Uchiwa (transclucent “water” fan), traditional craft bonbori, and cafe&gallery kawaramachiya.
He is also Japan’s first traditional craftsman designated by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry in the bonbori category.
And this leads to myself as the fourth-generation owner. With the roots of our foundation in Aichi Prefecture from when there was a castle town of the Owari Tokugawa Family in the Edo Period up until now, our predecessors have passed on techniques of traditional craft. I believe it is my mission to preserve them and pass them on to future generations.