Kogai naoshi with shakudo plate.  The nanako is fine and beautifully executed.  The theme is described as Inro no zu.  The inro is covered in a variety of kamon that include Roku tsu Hashi, karigane and Turu no Maru.  These are displayed in a combination of gold and silver over a rich black shakudo background.  The inro is finished with silver cords at the top and bottom.

The previous owner though this was a Ko-Goto kogai which had been remounted into a kozuka blade.  This is where the design and nanako sections are removed from a broken or damaged kogai and set into a kozuka. The Goto artisans were very good at preserving all manner of damaged items for future use. In most cases they were too good (and expensive) to waste.

The NTHK papered this piece to a sideline Goto family (Waki-Goto).  Robert Haynes wasn’t sure of who made this, but didn’t believe it was a Goto piece.  The work is excellent however, regardless of who made it.




NTHK Kanteisho
May 2011


Richard Turner, Australia


Length – 9.71 cm
Width – 0.95 cm


1-IMG_2816 copy

1-IMG_2835 copy 1-IMG_2846 copy



Because traditional Japanese clothing lacked pockets, objects were often carried by hanging them from the obi. Inro were suited for carrying anything small. Consisting of a stack of tiny, nested boxes, inro were most commonly used to carry identity seals and medicines. The stack of boxes is held together by a cord that runs through cord runners down one side, under the bottom, and up the opposite side.

Inro by KanshosaiKan, Japan, late 18th - early 19th century. V&A Museum, London
Inro by KanshosaiKan, Japan, late 18th – early 19th century. V&A Museum, London