Kuretake Co. Ltd & Kuretake UK Ltd Company
Kuretake - Handing the tradition of Nara, the home of Japanese culture, down to today.
A history of over a thousand years reaches the Japanese heart and soul.
The Japanese culture of cultural arts dates back to 710 A.D. when they were developed in Nara, the ancient capital of Japan.
A brief History of Nara:
In 710 the capital of Japan was transferred by Empress Gemmei from Fujiwara to Nara, which prospered as the political, economic, and cultural centre of the country for the next 74 years, during what is known as the Nara Period. The site of Heijô-kyô was carefully selected in accordance with the Chinese geomantic principles governing the location of an imperial palace. A grand city plan, based on Chinese examples such as Chang'an, was laid out, with palaces, Buddhist temples, Shinto shrines, public buildings, houses, and roads on an orthogonal grid. It covered an area of 2500ha, and its population is estimated to have been around 100,000.
The palace itself, located at the northern end of the central avenue, occupied 120ha. It comprised the official buildings where political and religious ceremonies took place, notably the Daigokuden (imperial audience hall) and Chôdô-in (state halls), and the imperial residence (Dairi), together with various compounds for administrative and other purposes. During this period an integrated imperial policy for the promotion of Buddhism was developed and applied from Nara. Emperor Shômu ordered temples and convents to be built in all the provinces, and built Tôdai-ji in 745 as the central provincial temple in Japan.
In 784 the imperial capital moved to Nagaoka for a mere nine years, and then to Kyoto (Heian), where it was to remain until 1184. The site of the abandoned Nara capital became paddy fields.. However, most of the temples and shrines survived intact; they maintained their high status and imperial patronage. As a result a new town developed around them which became known as Nanto (South Capital). The temple area around Tôdai-ji, Kôfuku-ji, Gangô-ji, and Kasuga-Taisha was particularly prosperous, and it was here that the modern city of Nara was to develop in the 16th century.
In 1180, however, Tôdai-ji and Kôfuku-ji were burnt to the ground in a period of internal strife. They were to be rebuilt soon afterwards, at the beginning of the Kamakura Shogunate (1185). Whilst Kôfuku-ji adopted the traditional Japanese Wayô style, however, Tôkai-ji was to be rebuilt in the Daibutsuyô (Great Buddha) style, introduced from Sung Dynasty China.
The Nara temples were to lose their prestige in the Muromachi Period (1333-1572). They suffered grievously from damage by fire: at Tôdai-ji, for example, the Tôtô (east pagoda), Kôdô (lecture hall), Sôbô (priests' living quarters), Kondô (Great Buddha Hall), Chûmon (middle gate), and Kairô (cloister) were all destroyed in different periods of unrest. Some buildings were reconstructed during the early Edo Period (1615-1867), with the assistance of the Shogunate. Although the Kondô was reduced to two thirds of its original floor area, it is still the largest extant wooden structure in the world.
1902 Narakichi Watatani (our Company Founder) began manufacturing the Japanese ink stick (sumi) under the trade name of Kuretake Sumi.
1924 The unlimited partnership of Seishodo and Co. was incorporated.
1932 Seishodo Co., Ltd. was established.
1940 Company name was changed to Kuretake Seishodo Co., Ltd.
1956 Company head office was completed in Omiya-Cho, Nara**.
1958 The Japanese ink liquid named "Bokuteki" was launched.
1963 Development of the "sign pen", a revolutionary writing instrument was successful.
1965 Kuretake Industries Co., Ltd. was established as a plant specializing in the production of writing instruments.
International trade was commenced.
1965 Tokyo office was established.
1968 New plant was opened.
1970 Fukuoka office was opened.
1973 Brush pen called "Fude pen" was launched and KURETAKE became a well-known company in Japan.
1974 Sapporo office was opened.
1977 New building of Tokyo branch office was completed.
1981 We exhibited our products at the Frankfurt fair for the first time to consider international market and submitted every year from that time on.
1984 Chikusen Minato, sumi master, received the "Modern Master Craftsman" award from the Ministry of Labor.
1986 A subsidiary "Kuretake U.K. Ltd." was established in the West Midlands, UK
Snow melting agent "SR Black" was launched.
1990 New office building of Kuretake U.K. Ltd. was completed in England.
1992 New company head office and plant was completed in Nara.
1997 First company craft retail shop "Duo" was opened at Nagoya.
1998 "Etegami" materials were launched.
1999 "Duo" was opened at Yokohama.
2000 We were certified ISO9002.
2002 Scrap Booking materials were launched in Japan
2003 We were certified ISO 9002: 2000.
New warehouse was completed in the plant.
"Duo" was opened at Nara and Fukuoka.
2005 "Duo" was opened at Tokyo.
2006 "Duo" was opened at Osaka.