Let’s look back at the traditional Korean craft industry.
In 2006, an article titled ‘Looking back on the traditional craft industry’ was published by the economic magazine ‘Asia Economic Daily – HANARTS’.
This is an honest article about what I saw, heard, and felt at the scene.
No matter how much Korean society develops, there are things that need to exist that form the foundation of that society. This is Korean traditional crafts.
I started a company with the goal of popularizing Korean lacquerware in the field of traditional crafts. Najeon lacquerware is a product in which seashells are processed according to the pattern, decorated with wooden bowls or boxes, and the surface is finished with lacquer. Lacquer lacquer, the basis of lacquerware, has been used since the 3rd century BC, but the period in which lacquer ware was systematically established is called the Goryeo period. It has such a deep history.
However, like other traditional crafts, the field of lacquerware is still underdeveloped. The biggest regret is the separation from the younger generation. Society is developing and the generations of members of society are getting younger, but their indifference puts the traditional crafts in danger of being cut off.
If you go to the Najeon Lacquerware production site, the youngest generation is in their mid to late 40s. Apart from the basic knowledge of traditional crafts taught at universities, the know-how of making products must be supported by long-term efforts and failures.
It is not easy to open a market because of the low awareness of Najeon Lacquerware. The demand for high-quality products made by artisans is only a small number of enthusiasts who recognize their work, and most want only cheap ones. As the bloody competition is fierce, it is almost impossible to make new investments. The crisis in the traditional industry is a reality,
In neighboring Japan, the government seems to take care of most of the things so that artisans can work for the development of traditional crafts without worrying about their livelihood, but Korea still seems to have low interest in traditional crafts. Even though cheap Chinese lacquerware products from China have been circulating in the domestic market for several years at a higher price.
Without interest and affection, the cry to develop and inherit traditional crafts is only an empty echo.