Nakagawa Joeki (中川浄益)

Joeki NAKAGAWA is a name that has been succeeded for generations by the head of the Nakagawa family, one of the Senke jissoku (the 10 artisans of the Sen family) specialized in the hardware craftwork. The Nakagawa family initially were body armor craftspeople in Echigo Province but the first Yojuro NAKAGAWA who made tea utensils for the first time in the family history assumed the name of Shoeki which was passed down to subsequent generations of men that headed the Nakagawa family as Joeki.

As of 2007, the present head of the Nakagawa family is Joeki XI. Joeki XI was born the eldest son of Joeki X and is the graduate of the Metal Fabrication and Machining Program at Kyoto City Fushimi Second Technical High School (presently Kyoto City Fushimi Technical High School). He succeeded the name of Joeki XI subsequent to his father's passing.

Also referred to as kazarishi (the fine metal fabrication crafts worker) specialized in sophisticated metal tea utensils, the Nakagawa family has been passing their superb art in metal fabrication down for generations. Their main works include hammered metal made by forging steel and cast metal made by casting steel into mold.

Chronicle of the Nakagawa Family

The founder: Shoeki (also known as 紹高, 1559 - 1622)
Shoeki was from Echigo Province. Shoeki originally made armor as did his ancestors, but it is said that his turning point came when SEN no Rikyu commissioned and instructed him to make a tea kettle whereby Shoeki started tea utensil making which has become the Nakagawa family's business.
His most notable work was the 'Rikyu Tea Kettle.'

The second head of the family: Joeki (also known as Shigetaka, 1593 - 1670)
Joeki was an artisan who regularly worked for the Sen family during the Kanei era. Since the name Shoeki was confused with the name of a business tycoon Shoeki SANO, he was instructed by the fourth head of the Omote-senke Sosa SEN to change his name to Joeki and, thereafter, the subsequent generations of head of the Nakagawa family have referred to themselves as 'Joeki'. His wife was the daughter of Sowa KANAMORI.

The third head of the family: Joeki (also known as Shigefusa, Chojuro and Tahei, 1646 - 1718)
Joeki found a formula for making an alloy of copper, tin and lead which was technically very difficult, and among the successive heads of the Nakagawa family, he was recognized as the master of cast metal who left numerous fine works.

The fourth head of the family: Joeki (also known as Shigetada and subsequently友寿・源吉, 1658 - 1761)
Joeki and his three sons worked hard to develop the family business to fluorish.

中川源介友忠 (1685 - September 4, 1759)
His most notable work was '覚々斎好渦唐金水指.'
He died before his long-lived father, and did not succeed to become Joeki.

中川治兵衛友輔 (year of birth and death unknown)
It is believed that he and his brother Tomotada excelled in working with copper and cast metal.

The fifth head of the family: Joeki (also known as 頼重・源吉 and Kichiemon, 1724 - 1791)
He was born the third son of Joeki IV. Starting with this generation, it was decided that the head of the family would assume the name of 'Kichiemon' when adulthood was attained. Joeki was given preferential treatment by the eighth head of Omotesenke (the house of Omotesen) Sottakusai. In his later years, Joeki lost everything including the articles handed down within the family and all the household effects, except for a copy of the family register of deaths, in the Great Fire of Tenmei.

The sixth head of the family: Joeki (also known as Yorikata, 1766 - 1833)
Was born the son of Joeki V.
Having offended Sottakusai, he was barred from Omotesenke at one point and subsequently worked exclusively for Urasenke (the house of Urasen) (details surrounding this circumstance remain unknown.)
Joeki was allowed back in Omotesenke when Ryoryosai was the head of Omotesenke. Joeki V was given the tea ceremony master name 'Sosei' as he was the most accomplished master of tea ceremony among the successive Joeki.

The seventh head of the family: Joeki (also known as 頼実, 1796 - 1859)
Joeki was referred as the 'Master of hammered alloy of copper, tin and lead' and 'Igami Joeki' (the Crooked Joeki because of his slightly crooked handwriting inscribed on his works) and is said to be the person responsible for revitalizing the Nakagawa family which had been on shaky grounds due to the various circumstances after the Great Fire of Tenmei. His wife 九満 was the third daughter of Ikkan HIKI.

吉太郎紹明 NAKAGAWA (1828 - April 8, 1845)
He was the heir of Joeki VII. He died young at age 17.

The eigth head of the family: Joeki (also known as 幾三郎, 1830 - 1877)
He was the husband of the daughter of Joeki VII. He was the son of Saemon ASADA, the assistant manager of the Mitsui family and his wife Toyo was the daughter of Joeki VII. Having foresight of what the transition period between the end of Edo period and the Meiji period might bring, Joeki became instrumental in organizing an exhibition in Kyoto. He also established 'Joeki-sha' to introduce the Japanese arts to foreign countries but was ousted due to the various circumstances. The frustrated Joeki died at age 48.

The ninth head of the family: Joeki (also known as 益之助・紹芳, 1849 - 1911)
He was the son of Joeki VIII. He succeeded as the head of the family in times that the popularity of tea ceremony was on the decline. Joeki received support from various people including the Mitsui family with whom he had connections through his father but failed to rebuild the family business, which led him to develop alcohol dependency. Joeki was a first-class artisan but since he worked during times when traditional arts and crafts were not appreciated, he received no public recognition. Joeki died in obscurity.

The 10th head of the family: Joeki (also known as Junzaburo and 紹心1880 - 1940)
He was the son of Joeki IX. Joeki was sent to a tool merchant in Osaka for training at an early age. He succeeded as the head of the family after the passing of his father. Taking advantage of the war boom that occurred when World War I broke out, Joeki cleared off his debts laying the foundation for rebuilding the Nakagawa family.
The representative works included 'Aokinjuro' and '2 Hotei-zo' (2 statues of Hotei (the god of good fortune)) (stored at the Mitsui household) in addition to 'Gion Festival Iwatoyama post hardware (for 2 posts).'

The 11th head of the family (the present head): Joeki (also known as 紹真, 1920 -)

[Original Japanese]