People

Motoyoshi Yasuda×Chisako Takashima

GINZA CONNECTIVE VOL.58

Motoyoshi Yasuda×Chisako Takashima

2016.09.06

An interview series featuring Ginza people in conversation with violinist Chisako Takashima. With a special fondness for Ginza, which holds many memories both from her professional and private lives, Takashima explores Ginza from various dimensions with her guests.In this volume, she welcomes Mr. Motoyoshi Yasuda, President and CEO of Yasuda-Shokeido, a long-established store founded in the Edo period, specializing in Buddhist family alters and articles.

Preserving the “design” dating back to the Edo period

Takashima
Please tell me about your corporate history dating back to the Edo period.
Yasuda
Our company was established in 1792 (Kansei 4), when Ienari Tokugawa, the eleventh shogun, was in power. The founder of our company was originally a sculptor of images of Buddha in Omi, currently Shiga Prefecture, and he began his trade in Edo (currently Tokyo) after he was called by the Shogunate to work on Zojoji Temple, which is the chief temple of the Jodo-Buddhist sect.
Takashima
How many years has it been since your store moved from Nihombashi to Ginza?
Yasda
Fifty-two years have passed since we established our store in Ginza in 1965 (Showa 40).
Takashima
For how many generations have you been in business?
Yasuda
I am the eighth President of the company. If I had been born a good singer or a fast swimmer, or with some other talent, I may have had other choices in life (laughs), but from the day I was born I had always believed that it was my destiny to take over the store.
Takashima
Your parents are very fortunate! It is to my knowledge that you sell mainly Buddhist family alters and articles and sogon-butsugu. Could you please explain to me what sogon-butsugu are?
Yasuda
Sogon-butsugu are Buddhist alter articles that are found in temples. They include mizushi, or miniature shrines in which images of Buddha are placed, and shumidan, the dais for Buddhist images. Almost everything is made from wood, painted with lacquer, gilded,hand-decorated with metal fittings, and carved. There is a professional artisan for every process.
Takashima
I see. It had never occurred to me that everything was made from wood. I had always thought that it was all made of metal. If you had the skills to create all of that, I would imagine that you would be capable of building houses and making furniture as well.
Yasuda
Yes, we also employ miyadaiku, or carpenters specializing in temple and shrine construction. The curves of shrine and temple architecture require special construction methods which differ from those for common houses and can only be done by professional miyadaiku. Furthermore, every store has a separate roof design, which makes the form and balance of the roof unique to each store. Therefore, our blueprints are family “treasures”. For generations, we have kept our original design so that our products can be recognized as bearing the “Yasuda-Shokeido” style.
寺院荘厳仏具

Sogon butsugu (Buddhist alter articles)

”Tokyo Butsudan,” designated by the Tokyo metropolitan government as a traditional craft, was launched by the third president of our country.

Takashima
Would you please tell me about your “Tokyo Butsudan” series, made for the average customer.
Yasuda
It is a series of Buddhist family alters that were originally made by Edo sashimono-shi, who specialized in making chests and boxes, during their free time using ebony, rosewood, mulberry, and Yakushima cedar. It is said that this line of alters was launched by our third-generation president, Shokei Yasuda. Today, they are made by traditional artisans designated by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government. Each alter must be finished with a coat of lacquer. Each certified Tokyo Butsudan comes with a serial number.
Takashima
Are these family alters available only for people living in Tokyo?
Yasuda
They are available for purchase by anyone.
Takashima
So, it is more like a brand?
Yasuda
Yes, it is a historical family alter that has been designated as one of the Tokyo Metropolitan Governments’ traditional crafts.
Takashima
Really. There is so much that I am hearing for the first time. It is all very interesting.
Yasuda
Thank you. I guess you wouldn’t shop at a store specializing in Buddhist family alters very often.
東京仏壇

Tokyo Butsudan

All List

西銀座駐車場/三笠会館本店/銀座 らん月/
みずほ銀行 銀座通支店/(株)天賞堂/銀座千疋屋/
ギンザのサヱグサ/三井住友銀行 銀座支店/GINZA
マロニエゲート銀座Hatsuko

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