Seal maker

Kidai Shoran (detail) © Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Museum für Asiatische Kunst (Asian Art Museum, National Museums in Berlin), former collection of Hans-Joachim and Inge Küster, gift of Manfred Bohms 2002, photography: Tadao Kodaira

This is the workshop of the Sasaki family, who were commissioned to make vermillion and black seals for use in official business of the Tokugawa shogunate. The company is still in operation today in Nihonbashi’s Muromachi area. Ordinary, middle-class people were already using seals during the Edo period, and in the early Meiji period, Japan systematically adopted the use of seals throughout all levels of society.

Sasaki inten