Makers: Takazawa Candle
Takazawa Candle was established in 1892, being one of the oldest candle makers in Japan. They produce traditional handmade Japanese Candles derived from plant-based raw materials, using techniques that haven't changed since the 16th century. Candles are made from the grace of plants such as the fruits of sumac tree, rice bran, and rapeseed flower oil.
The first candles in Japan were brought in from China in the 8th century and made from bees wax. Bees wax, as a material, it was not familiar to Japan's ancestors so they tried to make candles from the wax derived from plants. The sumac wax was soft and easy to form into the shape of a candle and so by the 16th century it had become the standard material for candle-making in Japan.
Sumac wax from the Kyushu region and Japanese paper (wa-shi) from Iwami (in Shimane Prefecture), used for wicks, were brought to Nanao to produce candles. The finished product was then transported throughout Japan by Kitamae ship. There were many makers which crafted candles in Nanao until the late 19th century. Today, Takazawa Candle is the only candle maker keeping this tradition alive in Nanao.
Takazawa's candles' flames are bigger and brighter than other companies. The flame comes from a special wick made from a unique recipe dating back to the 16th century, and it is the symbol of ancestral wisdom. At a time when there were no electric lights, light means candles, and a lot of thought was put into making candlelight brighter. The candles wick's are made from plant-based materials such as dried rush and washi-paper, thus symbolising the beautiful relationship between our ancestors and nature.
To make a traditional Japanese candle, Takazawa starts with the candle's wick. The wick is made by winding dried rushes around hollow cord of wa-shi (Japanese paper). The hollow core of the wick allows oxygen to be drawn up from the bottom so that the flame consumes more melted wax, thus increasing the combustion power and creating a powerful flame.
The artisan's burn thinning from nearby forests on the Noto peninsula for three big kettle and put the raw wax into each one depending on which type of candles they'll be making that day.
Next they create the candle shape by pouring melted wax into wooden or metallic moulds. After the wax has set, it is removed from the moulds and finished by shaping each piece by hand with a small knife.
The powerful flame, flickering from the simple silhouette of a candle, producing shadows in a room, creates a great atmosphere that makes you feel relaxed while you spend time with your family and close friends.