Nakamura Rosoku (Rosoku means Candle) is a candle shop located in Fushimi-ku, Kyoto City, which was established in 1887 and has been delivering Japanese candles to many people. The candles are made from plant-based materials, which are environmentally friendly and produce little oily smoke. We interviewed Hono Nishikawa, a Japanese candle painter who works at Nakamura Rosoku.
—Could you let me know about your background？
I was born in Koka City, Shiga Prefecture. While attending a design school in Kyoto, I found a job offer of candle painter at Nakamura Rosoku. I had never heard of traditional crafts or Japanese candles before, but I had no particular idea what I wanted to do at the time. It was not hard decision for me to join the company after doing some work experience for a few days. The reason for joining the company was simply because “the work experience was interesting!”.
—What do Japanese candles mean to you？
It’s really special to me. I have been involved in this business for less than six years. I have been considering about how to preserve Japanese candles for future generations, and how to make people aware of the various ways they can be used.I have some discretion atmy work because all the process of selling Japanese candle including design, crafting and even sales are carried out by myself.To make it easier for people to become familiar with the product, she makes small candle kits and holds trial classes.I believe there are things that can be done only by young craftsmen and young painters, and in the future, I am planning to draw patterns that are not related to Buddhism (Since the Japanese candle is historically made for and used by Buddhist temple). I think Halloween and Christmas patterns are cute, too!
―You must have a lot of trial and error! What kind of person do you think a painter is suited for？
person who can work patiently one by one and who likes painting is ideal for this job.Once you got some experience, you are given discretion and can draw your own favorite patterns, which is really enjoyable. I hope anyone who read this article will try to become a Japanese candle painter!
—When I saw your work, I thought your hands are beautiful, aren’t they? Why are they so smooth？
The candles that I am handling are very good on skin and it naturally makes my hands beautiful. There are other craftsmen who touch the wax all the time with one hand, and the hand is much more smooth than the other.
―I see. What a wonderful material as it is so good for the earth and for our skin! Which products sell best？
The best seller is the flower pattern. Since candles have an image of Buddhist rituals, elderly people often display them on Buddhist altars in place of flowers. Lotus flower patterns sell best regardless of the season, but cherry blossom patterns are also popular. I would like you to pick up a cherry blossom pattern with white and pink, or a lotus pattern with a detailed work！