From SamuraiWiki
Jump to navigationJump to search
  • Established: 1927
  • Japanese: 紅房 (Benbou)

Benbô is one of the preeminent Ryukyu lacquerware companies in Okinawa. Established in 1927 with Tokyo University of the Arts graduate Kashiwazaki Eisuke as one of the chief designers, Benbô pioneered new modern designs in traditional Ryukyuan lacquerware styles, methods, and materials. In addition to attractive traditional and modern designs influenced by Art Deco and other aesthetic movements, the firm is also known for its lacquerware objects produced for members of the US military, often incorporating garish depictions of weapons or other military equipment.

For the first several decades of the firm's operations, it was led primarily by designers from mainland Japan. The Okinawan lacquerware artist Maeda Kôin was brought on as a designer in 1959, just as he graduated university. Mentored and guided by Kashiwazaki and others, Maeda soon began creating original designs which enjoyed considerable popularity and were emulated or even copied by other lacquerware artists. Maeda left the company ten years later to establish his own studio, going on to become one of the most preeminent lacquerware artists in Okinawa, while Benbô retained its prominent position as well.


  • Kinjô Satoko 金城聡子, et al, "Maeda Kôin shi o itamu" 「前田孝允氏を悼む」, Shurijô kenkyû 首里城研究 23 (March 2021), 96.