Interview with Hirokazu Tagawa, a 4th generation warosoku craftsman


Please tell us a little about your background. What in your personal life has influenced you to choose your career?

I joined my wife’s family business as an assistant when my father-in-law (the previous generation master craftsman) became ill after we married.

What is the biggest challenge that you have encountered on your professional journey?

The biggest challenge in my business as a Japanese candlemaker was COVID-19.

What do you love about what you do?

I like being involved in Japanese culture and performing arts.

What are the sources of inspiration for your creative work?

It’s all in our daily life.
I find new ideas every time I encounter Japanese candles and lighting, especially since they are so little known.

How have the events of the past couple of years affected your work and your industry?

Our industry is still heavily affected by the pandemics.
Buddhist memorial services, weddings and funerals have been cancelled or postponed, gatherings have been restricted, and almost every opportunity to use candles has disappeared…

What wishes and words of encouragement do you have for the readers of this blog for 2023?

I feel deeply grateful for the opportunity to still do my job.
There is no need to look back, so let’s all move forward and just do our best.

Please tell us why would you recommend your work/products to craft and design lovers. What positive impact they can make on people’s lives?

There are simply too many Japanese who do not know about warosoku (Japanese candles), and it’s such a shame. There were no Western-style candles in temples or shrines prior to the Edo period. The candles depicted in cartoons and other media are Western-style candles regardless of the historical background. It’s too sad. I would like you to see the true beauty of traditional Japan once again. If you look attentively at hanging scrolls, Japanese paintings, maiko’s faces, fusuma, gold folding screens, kimonos, lacquerware, and Japanese candle lights, you’ll see and feel that era. Please try to see it if you haven’t yet.

If you plan to visit the studio and learn more about Japanese candles, book your experience here: NAKAMURA ROSOKU

Interview, translation & images by Anastasiya Bulkavets (