KYOKUCHI (ZENITH) COLLECTION
 

Our Yokozuna collection is back under name of Kyokuchi (Zenith) with new #50 18K gold nibs from
January 1st, 2015. The pens are made of Japanese ebonite, Japanese new #50 gigantic 18K gold nibs
and hand painted with genuine Urushi collectible masterpieces.

YOK-14, "Senbon-zakkura", Thousand Sakura
 
YOK-21, Furo, A Bath
 

YOK-1, Urashima Taro by Rakkan (Minoru Oohata)

I learnt this Japanese popular fable, I believe, when I was at Kindergarten. The story tells about a good natured Urashima Taro, a fisherman, who saw some kids bully a turtle and he persuaded the kids to let it go free. One day the fisherman met the rescued turtle again, the turtle wanted to take him some place to repay to his favor. The turtle took him to a Dragon Palace (Ryugoojo) under the sea and receive by a prince. The prince welcomed him and told him that he could stay at the palace as long as he liked. He was so happy to stay there and completely forgot how long he was there before he began to recall his home and his old mother. One day he finally told the price that he had to go home to see his mother. The prince gave him a very mysterious box, called Tamatebako, and explained to him “The box can make you happy as long as you hold the box closed, but never try to open it. But you can open it only when you have a trouble.”

When Urashima Taro came back the place where his home was supposed to be there, but everything changed and he could not recognize. None of the people he saw he knew and nobody knew him either. He thought he had a trouble and recalled what the prince told him about the box and opened it. Then, the mysterious smoke came out of the box and Urashima Taro suddenly became hundred year old man. The fact was that he actually lived in the Dragon Palace for many hundred years and his mother and all other people were long gond and the village was entirely changed. The story is ended simply like this, but it is very popular among children. When I was a kid and heard the end of the story I felt so sorry about Urashima Taro and regretfully wonder why he wanted to open the box. There is a Japanese saying “Akete Kuyashii Tamatebako” means how vexing to open the Tamatebako or just “the apple of Sodom”.

YOK-1

YOK-2, Sarasa by Mayumi (Mayumi Kumano)
Sarasa is a type of design which came into Japan from foreign countries during Muromachi or Edo period. The design on the pen is Kitori-Sarasa includes Hooh (phoenix), Kujaku (Peacock)Hana Karakkusa (flower arabesque pattern).

YOK-2

YOK-3, Jurojin by Kosetsu (Tatsuya Todo)

The original painting was made by Soga Shohaku (1730-1781), a picture of happiness. Jurojin himself is the god of longevity, trying to lift the turtle from the water. A white deer sit beside him and a crane was flying in the sky. Then, a pine tree at bank, bamboo and apricot are also shown there. The theme is just a matter of happiness with Shochikubai (pine-bamboo-apricot) symbols of best 1-2-3, and the crane for 1,000 years, turtle for 10,000 years with white deer, all loved to display on New Year by Japanese, the most important holidays of the year. I asked Kosetsu san to draw this masterpiece on our Yokozuna pen, and I’m very glad I gave him the right theme.

YOK-3

Model
MSRP In U.S.
Artist
YOK-1, Urashima Taro
$21,000.00
Rakkan
YOK-2, Sarasa
$25,000.00
Mayumi
YOK-3, Juronin
$29,000.00
Kosetsu

YOK-5, Kiritake-ni Hooh by Masanori
Kiritake (paulownia and bamboo) Acording to the mythology Phoenix lives on tree of Paulownia and eat bamboo, and this gave our artist, Masanori san the idea of Maki-e the Phoenix in the bush of paulownia and bamboo. Technically the author use Taka Maki-e on the Phoenix and the trees, and also use many different sizes of gold and silver mixed powders sprinkled as well as gradation. As there are so many details have to be burnished and polished separately to complete the work.

YOK-5

YOK-6, God Animals by Yuji (Yuji Ookado)

YOK-6

YOK-7, Dragon vs. Tiger by Katsuhiro (Katsuhiro Nishi)

YOK-7

Model
MSRP In U.S.
Artist
YOK-5, Kiritake ni Hooh
$32,000.00
Masanori
YOK-6, God Animals
$28,000.00
Yuji
YOK-7, Dragon vs. Tiger
$16,000.00
Katsuhiro

YOK-8, A Beauty Dancing in Snow by Mayumi

YOK-8

YOK-9, Yusokumon (ancient pattern) by Kosetsu

YOK-9

YOK-10, Rikyu by Masanori
Sen Rikyu (1522-1591) was a great founder of Japanese Tea Ceremony with his philosophy Wabi-Sabi.
Senke was followed by 3 schools, Omote Senke, Ura Senke and Mushakoji Senke. He was a very important friend of Oda Nobunaga and Toyotomi Hideyoshi. But some reasons Hiyoshi ordered him to commit Seppuku in 1591. Until today the reason for the order is still unknown. There are 30 out of his 100 Waka (poems) were written on the cap. We can provide the songs for your kind information.

YOK-10

YOK-12, Sumiyoshi by Masanori (Masanori Omote)

YOK-12

Model
MSRP In U.S.
Artist
YOK-8, A Beauty Dancing in Snow $20,000.00 Mayumi
YOK-9, Yusokumon (ancient pattern) $24,000.00 Kosetsu
YOK-10, Rikyu $33,000.00 Masanori
YOK-11, Spring of Four Seasons $24,000.00 Katsuhiro
YOK-12, Sumiyoshi $32,000.00 Masanori

YOK-13, Hienso (Larkspur) by Masanori (Masanori Omote)

YOK-13

YOK-14, Senbon-zakura by Masanori (Masanori Omote)

Story actually called Yoshitsune Senbon-zakura still a major Kabuki play in Japan today.  Yoshitsu is still regarded as the most popular tragic hero in history by Japanese today. Yoshitsune was the younger brother of Minamoto-no Yoritomo, defeated Taira Clan at the last big battle at Dan-no Ura for Minamoto Clan.  But his Jealous brother, Minomoto-no Yoritomo banished him to the northeast area of Japan, and his runaway trip began.

YOK-14
YOK-14

YOK-15, Chushingura by Masanori (Masanori Omote)

Chushingura is a famous historical story about a faithful retainer, Ohishi Kuranosuke and his 46 Ronin followers, killed Kira Kozukenosuke for their lord of Akoh Castle, Asano Takuminokami Naganori’s revenge. This story is known best by its Kabuki version and many Movies. Asano Takuminokami drew his sword trying to kill the ill natured Kira Kozukenosuke committed a capital crime and was forced to kill himself by Seppuku.

The main part of this story began with how the faithful retainer, Ohishi Kuranosuke to collect his followers and how to disguise their plan by showing that they were all indifferent to their lord’s death and how they proceeded the plan and finally raided the mansion to kill Kira Kozukenosuke The raid was succeeded, but these 47 Ronin were also arrested , because the revenge was regarded as a serious crime and they were also ordered to kill themselves. The tombs of the 47 Ronin are at Takanawa, Shinagawa of Tokyo and easily seen by tourists.

YOK-15
YOK-15

YOK-17, Kaguya-hime by Kogaku (Koichiro Okazaki)

It is considered the oldest tale in Japan written in the Heian period (794-1185). One day, an old bamboo cutter went into a bamboo clump to collect bamboo, and found a glittering bamboo and cut it. There was a beautiful girl from the bamboo and the old man gave the girl a name "Kaguya-hime" and brought her up to his home. The girl was so beautiful that five young nobles wanted her to marry them, but she refused all of them by giving them knotty questions impossible to answer. She even did not accept the emperor's invitation and finally flew to the harvest moon in the eve on August 15th (August 15th in lunar calendar is Mid-autumn Day in Asia).

YOK-17
YOK-17

Model
MSRP In U.S.
Artist
YOK-13, Hienso (Larkspur) $16,000.00 Masanori
YOK-14, Senbon-zakura $28,000.00 Masanori
YOK-15, Chushingura $28,000.00 Masanori
YOK-17, Kaguya-hime $28,000.00 Koichiro

FOUR SEASONS IN CHINKIN BY KATSUHIRO (KATSUHIRO NISHI)

YOK-18, Two Monkeys (Chinkin) by Katsuhiro (Katsuhiro Nishi)

YOK-18
YOK-18

YOK-11, Peacock (Chinkin) by Katsuhiro (Katsuhiro Nishi)

YOK-11
YOK-11

YOK-20, Phoenix (Chinkin) by Katsuhiro (Katsuhiro Nishi)

YOK-20
YOK-20

YOK-24, Taka (Falcon) by Katsuhiro (Katsuhiro Nishi)

YOK-24
YOK-24

Model
MSRP In U.S.
Artist
YOK-18, Two Monkeys (Chinkin) $24,000.00 Katsuhiro
YOK-19, Peacock (Chinkin) $24,000.00 Katsuhiro
YOK-20, Phoenix (Chinkin) $24,000.00 Katsuhiro
YOK-24, Taka (Falcon) $24,000.00 Katsuhiro


UKIYO-E



I picked some of original Ukiyo-e drawn by Utagawa Hiroshige and Utagawa Toyokuni as themes for my Maki-e collections and I asked Omote san to do the job. They are Goyu (YOK-5). Furo (YOK-21), Mochi-tsuki (YOK-22) and Sushi (YOK-23).

YOK-4, Goyu, a Station of Tokaido 53 Stations by Masanori (Masanori Omote)

Goyu was 36th station of Tokaido 53 Stations, actually 56 along the old highway running from Edo, today’s Tokyo around 350 miles during the Edo period (1603-1868) Every station was known with the street of inns and the painting was done humorously with waitresses from from different inns fighting for customers there. Masanori Omote faithfully painted with his top skills as he already did so many Tokaido for us in the past.

YOK-4

YOK-21, Furo (Bath in old Japanese style) by Masanori (Masanori Omote)

“Furo” is a humorous episode from very popular Japanese comic book called Dochu Hizakurige and paintings by famous Utagawa Hiroshige. It was about the mischievous Yaji and Kita, who traveled on foot along with Tokaido and made jokes all around their journey. This “Furo” was just one of the episodes that they jumped into the Furo-Oke, crying for help in the full of hot water but without the piece of wood, which was supposed to place right above the stove. Furo tab made of wood with the stove place in the front part of the tub uses at home. Japanese people are fond of bathing in hot water and if they don’t have the wooden tub at home, they constantly go to local public bath house. This customs are still very popular today at rural areas. I believe many of them still use this wood tub at home. I used this wooden tub till 1955 at home.

YOK-21
YOK-21

YOK-22, Mochi-tsuki (Rice cake making) by Masanori (Masanori Omote)

Mochi-tsuki is a Japanese old tradition, making Mochi mainly to celebrate the New Year, the biggest holiday of the year in Japan. The original painting was done by Utagawa Toyokuni the 3rd (1823-1882). Today they use Mochi to make hundred kinds of cakes selling at supermarkets or served at restaurants.

YOK-22
YOK-22

YOK-23, Sushi by Masanori (Masanori Omote)

Sushi is so popular in the United States today and it will be interesting to know a bit more about Sushi. Sushi was rooted in Southeast Asia, not in Japan. They put salted fish meat into cooked rice till it is fermented. The rice was discarded and the fish as meat called Nare-zushi , which are still available in Thailand or Taiwan and part of Japan, though it looks quite different from today’s Sushi.

After the big fire in Edo, today’s Tokyo in 1657, which destroyed two third of one million population city, tens of thousands workers were invited to restore the city, and there boomed with thousands of stalls at streets to sell snack for the workers. At that time, Sushi was available only at other big areas of Japan called Kansai-zushi mainly from Kyoto areas. But Kansai-zushi was made for preserved so that they could sell when they needed and they sold Sushi at the streets. But this type of Sushi is time consuming and too salty or sour taste, someone created Nigiri-zushi, hand-rolled Sushi and adopted by Hanaya Yohei in 1818 to sell at his store. This Nigiri-zushi became sensational instantly and the market was spread to all the country immediately. The original Ukiyo-e of this design was another work by the famous Utagawa Hiroshige, and Maki-e by Masanori Omote san.

Sushi-ya mushroomed in the United States in recent years and there many more different Sushi than Nigiri-zushi called Hana-zushi, actually created by American customers including California-maki or Caterpillar-maki, which we can’t find in Japan, while Sushi-ya will be hard to survive in the United States if they don’t have any Hana-zushi to sell.

YOK-23
YOK-23
   
Model
MSRP In U.S.
Artist
YOK-4, Goyu
$23,000.00
Masanori
YOK-21, Furo (Bathing) $28,000.00 Masanori
YOK-22, Mochitsuki (Making Rice Cake) $28,000.00 Masanori
YOK-23, Sushi $28,000.00 Masanori


H-004Y, Sakura-to Bara (Sakura meets Rose) by Masanori (Masanori Omote) on Yokozuna

H-004Y
   
Model
MSRP In U.S.
Artist
H-004Y, Sakura meets Rose
$38,000.00
Masanori

YOK-29, New 100 Kids

YOK-29
   
Model
MSRP In U.S.
Artist
YOK-29, New 100 Kids
$32,000.00
Kogaku