和風照明器具のミヤコアンドン 都行燈株式会社
  

大江戸職人紀行

大江戸職人紀行 「行燈」
都行燈株式会社 木崎 幸一郎

江戸時代を中心に長い間使われた生活用具の中で、現代では消えてしまっもののひとつに、行燈がある。
原科も貴重でしかも一本一本、職人の手で作られる当時のロウソクは高価で、とても庶民の手に届く代物ではなかった。庶民の明かりはといえば、もっぱら行燈。いや、せいぜい行燈というべきか。行燈に使う油だって、長屋住まいの熊さん、八つぁんには、痛い出費だ。日が暮れれば「とっとと寝ちまいな!」ということになる。今では博物館か時代劇の中でしか、お目にかかれなくなってしまった行燈。だがそのデザインや細工の、豊富でみごとなこと!あの美しい明かりの道具は、もう完全に消えてしまったのだろうか?

と行燈屋さんを探し回っていたら、4月号に登場していただいた指物師の木村正さんが、行燈を作っていた人を知っているという。「都行燈」という会社の社長、木崎幸一郎さんのところにまだ行燈があるらしい。「行燈といっても私が作ったのは、電気行燈なんです,昭和の初め頃親父が作り出して私が受け継いだんですが、ずいぶん売れました」
東京の下町、三ノ輸生まれの木崎さんは、シャキシャキっと話す。明治になって日本にもランプが入り、大正には電気が灯って、庶民の生活は一気に明るくなった。もう行燈なんて暗い明かりは要らない。とはいっても、捨てがたいのは行燈の風情やデザイン。そこで一計を案じた人がいた。油のかわりに電球を使えばいい!組子の名人だった木崎さんのお祖父さんだ。お父さんはその技術を家具に活かして、入谷に集まる家具の大店をお得意さんにしたアイデア・マンでもある。だが家具の売れ行きには波がある。電気行燈が巷に登場したのはちょうどその頃でこれなら安定した商品だと、お父さんは木工技術を駆使して、電気行燈に突入した。ラッキーだったのは、東京大空襲でも、木崎さんちの木材だけは焼けなかったことだという。終戦直後は、銀座の服部時計店(現在の和光)にあった進駐軍のPXやグアム島から大量注文が相次いだそうだ。



で、今は? 行燈には20パーセントもの物品税がかかるので、他の照明器具に切り換え、現在の和風照明器具に至ったというわけ。「親父は仕事には巌しくってね、よく玄能(トンカチ)でなぐられましたよ。ワッハッハ」。屈託なさそうな笑いの木崎さんだが、時折眼鏡の下でキラリと目が光る。行燈の技術は今また、吊り下げ型の和風照明器具に受け継がれている。木を削り、枠を組み、紙を貼る。それだけのことなのに、十年修業しなけれぱ一人前にはなれない。細い木枠にピンと貼られた和紙。明かりを灯ぜば、それだけで絵になる美しさだ。塗らないから、ごまかしがきかない。木は秋田杉が最上。秋田の気候が良い杉を生むのだとも。建築材と違い、細く削って作るには、木目と木目の間がつまっていて美しいこと、さらに素直でないと狂いが出てダメなのだそうだ。電球ば発熟するので、木と電気の関係をよく理解することが、この仕事では一番大切だし、「職人には手を抜くなって、いつも言ってるんですよ」と、第一線から手は引いたが、現場ではまだまだ歳しい木崎さんだ。木工職人も木崎さんで三代目。ロックを聴きつつ木を削るのは四代目。江戸も行燈も消えた。だが行燈作りの技術は、ロックのリズムに乗りながら、しっかり生き残っている。

取材/工藤みゆき


行燈を,あんどん,と読むのは江戸弁。正しくは,”あんどう”といい、中国の宋の読み方だ。室町時代に禅僧が使っていた携帯用の照明具が一般に広まったものらしい。江戸期の照明具には,ロウソクを使う燭台や雪洞・提灯や油を使う行燈がある。菜種や胡麻などの植物油、鯨や鰯などの魚油を使った。油皿の燈芯の火か消えないように、枠に紙を貼ったのが行燈だが、用途にあわせおびただしい種数がある。だから明るさは、時代劇で見るのとは大遺い、すごく暗い。0.2~0.5燭光というから、針に糸を通すのもやっとだ。百万都市・大江戸は真っ暗闇で、唯一明るい場所は、贅沢なロウソクをふんだんに使った、遊里吉原だった。吉原の遊郭に灯った誰哉行燈、夜中枕許置いた有明行燈…。その名称すらもが美しい。江戸のものは枠も細くすっきりと洗練されたデザインだが、それが現在の都行燈のスタイルにもつながっている。



戦後PXに良く売れた民家のミニチュアの電気行燈。これはさらに手をかけた木崎さんの作品。全ての建具が動く精巧さ

学研:ハウス&ホームズより


Account of an Edo Artisan - Miyako Andon;
Kizaki KouichiroAccount of an Edo Artisan






Andon is one of those household items that has been used extensively during and around Edo period, but has now almost disappeared. Candle was an expensive luxury item, handmade one by one by artisans, and was not something readily available to the commoners. Andon was more or less the lighting for commoners. Even for andon, the cost of oil used was not easy on the people’s budget. Thus the norm was to go to sleep when the sun sets. Nowadays, andon can be seen only in the Samurai movies or museums but have this tool with robust wonderful design harbouring beautiful lighting, really disappeared for good?

As I searched for andon manufacturer, Kimura-san, a woodworking artisan who was featured in our April issue, mentioned to me that he knows an andon maker. Kizaki Kouichiro-san, president of Miyako Andon is that person. Kizaki-san says, “The andon I make is an electrical andon, succeeding from my father who started making it in early Showa era. Many were sold then.”


Kizaki-san, who was born in the old downtown Tokyo at Minowa, speaks in a crisp manner. As Meiji era started, Western lamps were introduced into Japan, followed by electrical lights in Taisho era, casting bright lighting upon daily life at once. Andon that uses oil and casts tender lighting was not needed any more. However, having said that, the design and elegance of andon is hard to just let go. Thus one thought of an idea. Why not use an electrical light bulb instead of oil! That was Kizaki-san’s grandfather who was an accomplished woodworking artisan. Kizaki-san’s father has introduced many kinds of innovative furniture, selling through large furniture stores congregated around Iriya. However there were ups and downs in the sale of furniture. Electrical andon’s introduction was around then, and thinking that this would be a stable product, he started on electrical andon utilising his skills in woodworking. It was very fortunate that Kizaki-san’s properties were one of the rare ones that survived the bombing during the War. After the War, there were rush of orders from PX located at Hattori Watch Store (current Wako) in Ginza and also from Guam.


Then how about now? Since andon is subject to as much as 20% commodity tax, other types of lighting products were introduced, resulting in the current Japanese style lighting products. “My father was very strict, and often I was taught by way of a hammer. Ha Ha Ha!” Kizaki-san laughs nonchalantly, but there is occasional flash in his eyes behind his glasses. The technologies for andon are now being passed on to the hanging type lamps. It takes 10 years apprenticeship to become a full fledged artisan. Washi is stretched and pasted smoothly around the narrow wooden frame. The beauty of an art object emerges simply by turning on the light. It may not be lacquered, unable to hide any imperfections. Akita cedar is considered to be the best wood. It is said that the climate in Akita nurtures quality cedar. Unlike building materials, to craft using finely carved wood requires that the material has the beauty of denser intervals between wood grains. Also the wood must be supple, otherwise faults result. Since the light emits heat, it is critical to understand the relationship among electricity, heat and wood. Although Kizaki-san has withdrawn from the front line, he still continues to be active in the workshop, always saying, “The professional artisan never takes an easy way out.”Kizaki-san is the third generation woodworking artisan. The fourth generation is now carving wood listening to rock music. Edo and andon have by gone. However the andon making technologies continue to live on, riding on the rock rhythm.


Reading the characters for andon, 行燈, as “Andon” is Edo Japanese. Correctly, it is read “Andou” as in Chinese in the Sung (Song in pinyin) period. It is said that the portable lighting equipment used by the Buddhist monks in the Muromachi period has spread among the ordinary people. The lighting equipment of the Edo period includes candle holder and bonbori that use candle, as well as chouchin and andon that use oil. Vegetable oil from rapeseeds and sesame seeds, fish oil form whale and sardine were used. To prevent the flame from the wick placed on the oil plate from being extinguished, paper was stretched around the frame, resulting in andon. There are numerous types depending on the use. Unlike what you see in the Samurai movie, it only provided very dim lighting. At around 0.2 – 0.5 candela, it was barely enough for passing a thread through a needle. The million inhabitants city, Oo (Greater) Edo was pitch black, and the only bright spot was the entertainment district of Yoshiwara where luxurious candles were used abundantly. Tasoya Andon lighting the entertainment district of Yoshiwara, Ariake Andon placed at pillow side through the night … Even the names are enchanting. The ones in Edo period had slender frame and refined design, and they lead to the contemporary style of Miyako Andon.



Miniature electrical andon depicting a private house, which sold well to PX after the War. This one was improved further by Kizaki-san. It is elaborate enough allowing all fixtures to move.