Repair and Maintenance of Fine Japanese Lacquerwares


An example of a repair;

The broken o-wan (meshi-wan ichimonji) by Wajimaya Zen-ni. The cracks were serious and chipped. The black layer is the urushi lacquer coating layers. You see how thick that is.

 This is a broken o-wan (meshi-wan ichimonji by Wajimaya Zen-ni) of Wajima lacquerware. The cracks were serious and chipped. It broke during earthquake in 2016 in Kumamoto, Japan (it was the most strongest earthquake recorded in Japan). 

In case if you do not have an idea what type of lacquerware it is, please observe the crack in detail. In this owan you will see the black layer exposed in the cracked area; it is the Wajima urushi lacquer base coating layers - it is a combination of 7-8 base layers. You see how thick this base coat is, beneath the red middle and top coatings. This observation gives you a piece of important information to assess what type or what kind of quality lacquerware it is. From the existence of the thick base coatings, you will understand that this lacquerware was finely coated. 

The o-wan was totally remade by Wajimaya Zen-ni. First polishing off all the coated urushi lacquer layer. Then apply attachment to missing portion and adhering cracks with urushi and reform the shape. And then, re-coat all the urushi layers again. Wow, that’s more than making a new one!  (cracked position is where the arrow shows )

To repair this o-wan, it was almost totally remade by Wajimaya Zen-ni.

First polishing off all the coated urushi lacquer layer so that the core wood is exposed. Then finely reform the cracked areas and apply attachment to a broken missing triangle portion. Apply urushi lacquer to adhere cracks and attachment and totally reform the shape to regain the initial form. And then, re-coat all the urushi layers again.

Wow, that’s more than making a new one !  (cracked position is where the pink post-it with an arrow shows ) It took 7 months to repair this owan. 

As you see in the above, genuine lacquerwares (except for fuki-urushi; wood grain transparent types) are made to be repaired to last for generations. Especially Wajima lacquerwares have been used for more than 400 years with its history of repairs along with the sophistication of skills and techniques behind. 


When you broke your lacquerware from our products;

To repair or maintenance your lacquerwares, we will send your lacquerwares back to where it was originally manufactured. So that the skilled craftsmen know what needs to be done to restore in precise and that it could be done to the level of original quality.

The lead time for the repair will vary based on the level of the damage, however, it will not be less than a month, based on the time needed to fix the damaged area with coating, drying, and polishing multiple layers of urushi lacquer. At the maximum, it may be up to nine months with maki-e decorations, since we make sure that the same quality level steps are applied to the newly restored area, as an original.

The fee for the repair of our products will vary based on the level of the damage. However, we offer you the repair and the maintenance based only on the necessary cost of the repair or the maintenance including shipping and handling.

We will do our best to estimate the required cost for the repair or the maintenance before any shipment of the damaged product to us, with your help on the communication regarding the information of the damage. Please feel free to contact us when you feel your lacquerware needs to be repaired or maintenance or you find something wrong with our products.


When you have broken lacquerware that you want to repair (which is not our product);

We will do our best to help you resolve your problem. We will first help you assess whether it is worth repairing unless you are perfectly sure that you want to repair it.  

    - Please provide multiple photos of your lacquerware: whole and part. 

    - Please provide as much information related to the lacquerware as you can, such as the history of how you got it and kept it.

  We will give you the best guess on what type of lacquerware it is and how difficult to repair, based on the information provided.  

  And then, if you require further assistance for an actual repair, we would further communicate with you to seek an optimal solution for you. 

- We do not require any fees just for information exchanges and communication. We do not have any hidden intentions to guide you into an actual repair, since each case is different and the whole process is extremely time consuming and difficult for us too. 

- However, please keep in mind that the cost of coming from your country to Japan and going back itself will cost you at the level of a hundred US dollars and the repairing cost will be at another hundred US dollars level or more. 

 We fully support and appreciate your feelings and efforts to make your lacquerware last in the future. 


* Please note that if the lacquerware is truly antique piece and you need to preserve the antique value, we may not be able to help you. 


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