Giving light from Japan to the world -Tradition and innovation of Suifu Chochin brought up in the area-

Apr 22, 2022 - Jun 02, 2022

About Exhibition

Organized by The Nippon Club

Supported by the J.C.C. Fund

(Philanthropic Fund of Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry in New York)

In cooperation with Sekisho Corporation

Curator: Mie Tsunobe

At the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics on July 23, 2021, many lanterns assembled in wooden frames were displayed. Lanterns are one of the traditional representative crafts of Japanese culture. In this exhibition, we will take up the traditional craft of Ibaraki prefecture, "Suifu lanterns," and introduce the history and manufacturing process of lanterns that have been used as lighting fixtures that are indispensable for our daily lives.    


In the Edo Period (1603-1868), the lower class samurai of the Mito clan began making chochin as a livelihood. As the leaders of the Mito clan gradually began to support this industry, more and more chochin produced in Mito came to be used in other cities, including the capital city of Edo. Suifu chochin is known for its sturdiness and simplicity because it is made by making individual rings of bamboo and binding them together with string, making for sturdier construction. 

The Japanese washi rice paper used in the lanterns is "Nishinouchi paper," the development of which was also promoted by the leaders of the Mito clan. Even tougher and more substantial than typical washi, this paper is another reason why Suifu chochin are as sturdy as they are. Even now, votive lanterns, festival lanterns, signboard lanterns, etc., are made with Japanese paper pasted without changing the construction method.


Mr. Ryutaro Suzuki, the 7th generation owner of the long-established store "Suzuki Mohei Shoten" that has continued for 150 years, maintains the making of lanterns as a traditional craft. On the other hand, he has created the "Suzumo Lantern," a lighting fixture that can be used as an interior object by incorporating the inspiration of the contemporary artist and graphic designer Mic*Itaya, whose works are permanently preserved in the MoMA-The Museum of Modern Art along with cutting-edge technology by young people,


This exhibition will introduce the "Suifu Lantern" handed down from generation to generation and the innovative "Suzumo Lantern."

We want to take this opportunity to express our sincere appreciation to Mr. Masaki Seki, Mr. Shigeo Nakajima, Mr. Akihiro Miki, Mr. Hitoshi Sato, Mr. Tamotsu Yagihara, Mr. Chiyoshi Takahashi, Mr. Yoshihiro Yamashita, Mr. Kumpei Yoshimoto, Mr. Kota Suzuki, and Mr. Daisuke Kikuchi for their cooperation and support in holding this exhibition.