Even after more than 400 years, Takaoka still boasts the largest share of the domestic cast metal production market and continues to produce a wide range of products, from small items such as Buddhist altars and tea ceremony utensils to large items such as bronze statues and Buddhist bells. In recent years, Takaoka has been attracting much attention both in Japan and abroad for its highly designed crafts that combine the techniques cultivated by its predecessors with a modern sensibility. Takaoka is truly a manufacturing city where tradition and innovation coexist, and Nousaku has been nurtured in such an environment.
Nousaku began manufacturing castings in 1916. At the time of its founding, the company mainly manufactured Buddhist altar ware, tea ceremony utensils, and flower vases.
A turning point came around 1965. Focusing on the increasingly affluent lifestyle of the Japanese people, Nousaku developed a modern design of flower vases, which became a hit, and the business continued to expand. However, the demand for traditional vases, tea ceremony utensils, and Buddhist altar ware gradually declined due to changes in lifestyles, as well as lower prices caused by the economic downturn and the increasing overseas relocation of production bases.
Nousaku faced a difficult situation. In 1984, Katsuji Nousaku, the current president and representative director, joined the company, and after spending 18 years as a craftsman casting, Katsuharu eventually decided that he wanted to develop his own products using the skills he had honed.
The way forward was paved at the "Suzu, Rin, Rin" exhibition held in Harajuku, Tokyo in 2001. Brass bells that made use of the beauty of the bare metal attracted much attention, and select stores began to sell them. However, the bells did not sell well in this form, but once they were made into wind chimes with Tanzaku strips attached, based on the advice of a sales representative at the time, they became a huge hit, selling more than 1,000 each month. Since then, Katsuji has been determined to develop products that corresponded to the voices of customers. The 100% Tin products that are now the company's mainstay were also born from a sales representative's comment that "there are many people who are looking for tableware".