Traditional Craftsman (伝統工芸士)
The Traditional Craftsman is the accreditation examination conducted by the Traditional Crafts Industry Promotion Association Foundation in accordance with Paragraph 8 of Section 24 of the Act concerning the Promotion of Traditional Craft Industries.
This system was established to increase demand towards traditional craft industries which have been slumping due to the shortage of successors. The duty of traditional craftsmen is to make efforts for the preservation of endemic traditional crafts, the improvement of their skills and techniques, and the transmission of traditions to posterity. Therefore, they are to become members of the Association of Traditional Craftsmen of Production Areas and strive for the promotion of traditional crafts in their production areas. At first, the Traditional Craftsman was a qualification certified by the Minister for Trade and Industry, and then it became a qualification certified by the Minister for Economy, Trade and Industry. Now it is a qualification certified by the Traditional Crafts Industry Promotion Association Foundation, but can be called a nationally-accredited qualification because it is based on the regulations of the Act concerning the Promotion of Traditional Craft Industries.
Qualifications of Candidacy for the Examination
The qualifications of candidacy for the examination are that candidates be engaged directly in the manufacture of Traditional Crafts designated by the Minister for Economy, Trade and Industry, that as of April 1st of their examination years, the number of years of their work experience be 12 or more, and that they live principally in the production areas of Traditional Crafts. But unions of some production areas establish their own internal rules: As for Inami Carving (the secondary designation) in Nanto City, Toyama Prefecture, the number of years of candidates' work experience should be 20 or more.
Examination applications are submitted to the committee set up in the union of each production area. The examination consists of a knowledge examination, a practical examination and an interview examination. In the knowledge examination, questions about the qualities of a traditional craftsman and the expertise are asked and examination papers are graded by the Traditional Crafts Industry Promotion Association Foundation. The practical and interview examinations are commissioned to the union of each production area because highly specialized experience and personal qualities are tested in these examinations. The examination is generally conducted every September, and admission decisions are made by the Traditional Crafts Industry Promotion Association Foundation. But in reality, the practical and interview examinations submitted by the union of each production area get preference over the knowledge examination.
After being notified of acceptance in mid-December, he or she applies for registration at his or her production area committee and is registered as a traditional craftsman in late February the next year.