Nara chair

Nara chair

Toshio Tokunaga
Item Number:C13648
Japanese cedar

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The timber of the Japanese cypress trees that have been cultivated in the Yoshino area of Nara Prefecture for over 500 years is unique, possessing a pale, reddish tone, it exhibits a characteristic strength and pliability. Using a special plane with a blade made of the same steel that is used in Japanese samurai swords, he is able to produce any form of curve or to smooth interlocked grain without the use of files. The surface possesses a softness that seems to envelop the body and the more it is used, the greater gloss that is achieved. This is the Japanese chair.

Chairs hand carved by master woodworker, using Tamahagane steel; the same steel used to create traditional Japanese swords

' Creating Chairs '

" If it were not for my encounter with the blacksmith, Mr. OHARA, in 2008,
these new chairs would never have come into being.
The plane that he brought was completely different to anything I had ever used before. He had collected iron sand from which he smelted the same kind of steel as is used in Japanese swords, then forged this to produce an incredibly sharp plane.
"I can use this plane to create chairs!" It was as if I had received a divine revelation.
The technique of using a plane to apply the finish to my work provided the initial motivation, the inherent beauty of wood furnishing the answers by which I could overcome numerous problems.
The result is I now make chairs."

- Toshio Tokunaga

*"Sun and Moon" pair of chairs acquired by the Emperor and Empress of Japan

1952 Born in Hyogo Prefecture

1974 Graduated from the Faculty of Agriculture at Iwate University
Began to study under the 'Living National Treasure', Hekigai takeuchi

1983 Held an exhibition of furniture at the Kitahama Central Gallery
Won an award at the Kinki District Japan Traditional Art Crafts Exhibition

1985 Became a regular member of the Japan Traditional Art Crafts Association

2002 Produced the 'Decorated Mulberry Go Board' as one of the sacred treasures
created to celebrate the 1100th anniversary of the founding of the
Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine

2003 Invited to participate in the 'Contemporary Furniture and Woodworks
in Japan' exhibition at the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo
Invited to participate in the Cheongju International Craft Biennale

2011 Exhibited in the 'Kansai Chairs Now' exhibition at the Oyamazaki Villa Museum of Art