Black is known to be a particular color in Japanese culture. This color symbolizes "wabi-sabi" (a traditional Japanese philosophy of appreciating the beauty of transience and imperfection), calmness, and depth beyond negative images. Although other countries view the color black as a misfortunate color, black in Japanese culture is a symbol of loneliness, tranquility, and profoundness beyond a negative image. Japanese culture includes black in places where the highest level of tranquility is required—for instance, Buddhist robes, Senrikyu black tea bowls, to black lacquerware. As Japan has established itself as a more technological country, industries such as automotive paint businesses have enhanced the technology for black over time. Even in the modern fashion industry, Yohji Yamamoto and Rei Kawakubo have influenced the impact of black color, as one of the most critical colors in Japanese beauty.
We decided to work on a consultation for a new black, using carbon nanotube (CNT) technology that is owned by the major Japanese paint manufacturer "Toyo Ink Group." They had advanced in creating dispersion technology that dissolves into various liquids already. The underlying technology of CNT is the same as VANTA BLACK, which later became a hit worldwide.
At the time, we were branding new strategies for Echizen Lacquerware—Japan's largest lacquerware production area. The local industry is full of challenges that affect our near future, such as a decline in sales, and lack of successors. As artisans age, we realized it is necessary to revive the industry with technology to continue the tradition for the future, finding a way to create a future for the color black and keep traditional craftsmanship with these two matters. Thus the project of producing Japan's world-renowned black from the fusion of ancient times began.