We are proud to bring you the finest chasens from the youngest chasen craftsman in Japan. Tatehiro Kubo or “Komakichi” as he is known, is a chasen maker whose family roots in the craft extend back to the genesis of chasen making itself. Komakichi’s means of chasen making were a closely guarded family secret for centuries. The Kubo name has been synonymous with chasen craftsmanship as far back as the record exists; at least seven generations.
Creating an authentic Japanese chasen is a skill that Komakichi has perfected, and he was the next in line to learn the art of traditional chasen making from his grandfather Isao Kubo. Komakichi first seriously learned the craft at age 19. His grandfather's first lesson? “Sit down and stay in the same spot from sunrise to sunset.”
Soon, he realized how painful it was to keep sitting on the floor for extended periods of time. His knees and back were riddled with painful cramps and sore spots. He could barely move, yet he persisted. Komakichis first lesson was experiencing the physical toll Japanese chasen making takes on the body.
Making a handcrafted chasen is such an intricate task that the chasen craftsman or “Chasen-shi'' needs to stay at the same spot, and in a state of complete concentration for the entire day. “If you cannot sit down all day, you wouldn’t be a good Chasen-shi,” Komakichi now understands. Komakichi has quipped, “Today I can fall asleep while sitting.”
Komakichi has been expertly taught. He has been handed knowledge that dates back centuries. His skills are not common. Less than 20 authentic Japanese Takayama chasen makers exist today. Many of these highly skilled craftsmen have no successor to carry the craft into the next generation. That number is expected to be reduced by 50% within 10 years.
Understanding the intricacies of the chasen is extremely important for Japanese matcha. The way the chasen is shaved down to the millimeter affects the taste and mouthfeel of the matcha. Precise angles and thickness lend themselves to how we are able to enjoy our favorite matcha. Furthemore, different tea masters have different elements that they insist are incorporated into their handcrafted chasens. Komakichi meets the expectations of the most discerning clientele.
At Sugimoto, we are honored to have Komakichi Kubo joining us in our mission to bring the finest teas and matcha to homes around the globe. It is our hope that bringing true Sugimoto authenticity to our customers, we can do our part to ensure this tradition of craftsmanship is here to stay. It is Komakichi’s hope that he will pass this tradition to his son in the future, and continue centuries of family tradition. Experience the difference authenticity makes.
“Let people use my chasens first, so they will never use another chasen.” - Tatehiro “Komakichi” Kubo