Bean knowledge about the ivory

Attention in preservation

As for the personal ornament, it is unnecessary for the special attention.However, about the comparatively big ornament, "It sometimes cracks when temperature is changed suddenly." Though there is no anxiety that it cracks in usual japanese home,but,when it is cold in winter,it sometimes cracks,when getting hot the room too much with the stove or the steam,and a window is opened and cold air is put into the room suddenly.

Though it says ivory fractures,when it is put on the tatami,or,having it and goes into the wood of the bamboo. As for this,the tatami in winter is cold and it is chilly in the wood of the bamboo in summer. In other words,it is considered meaning that ivory crack possibility when temperature is changed suddenly. When an ivory product became dirty, It can be washed clean with brush which put soap, by the tepid water. And dry it in the shade. Not drying it by the wind and never drying it on the fire is the most important.

History about the Japanese ivory carving

Toyotomi Hideyosi was using the tea set of the ivory craft, too.

The ivory craft has been transmitted from the old days Nara Period


●The seal basket of the tree monkey carving
figure of the ivory persimmon/Edo Period work
(Seal basket museum collection)

When was ivory conveyed to Japan on earth?Ivory had already been contained in“KOU GA BATI RU SYAKU”and so on,the treasure of the SHOSOIN,in the Nara Period (the eighth century),and ivory was transmitted in those days.
From this fact,it is considered that technological know-how was also acquired in Japan,and combs and so on were being made.
After that, in the Azuchi-Momoyama Period,it was used for the utensils of tea and so on abundantly. It also showed big technological development, following in trade with the Southeast Asia and China becoming prosperous.In that,it can be seen the state that ivory was used for the various tea sets from “sea gull eggplant with TOU MONO TYA”,which is transmitted that Toyotomi Hideyosi owned it,and 「RIKYUU HYAKU KAI KI」,which SENRIKYUU wrote it,and so on.

And,in the early stages of the Edo Period,NETUKE,Seal basket,comb,ornamental hairpin and so on generalizes as a daily life article.From the 17th century latter half, until about the 18th century first half,much ivory craftwork was used preferably by military familys and civilians.
that craft technology invited a prosperity term as the ivory carving in the Meiji, Taisho Period, and produces a lot of famous craftsman. Those many craft works of art were exported to the foreign countries as well, and got high evaluation. That excellent tradition craft technology that it is cultivated in the long time is recognized as the artistic carving goods worldwide, and succeeded to to the present.

※KOU GA BATI RU SYAKU…polish ivory first,and paint that surface by the color such as rouge, dark blue, green.
The technological know-how which carved a pattern on this and which intended effect on comparison with white.The ruler which this technological know-how was used for.

The African elephant & the conservation

Our fundamental standpoint

The history of the Japanese ivory craft, it may traced back to about 350 years ago from now. It turned out to be an indispensable traditional industry for the Japanese culture in this long history. For example, the stick of the SHAMISEN and NETUKE. If it was not made from ivory, the tone doesn't come out well, and the taste is cut by half, too. It's because ivory is the material which lived.

We, who live in the present day, concerned with the ivory industry. have the duty to hand over these property from the past to the future generation. That, we continue the occupation which ivory was used for, is indispensable to keep the elephants which create ivory surviving and not going to die out in the future.

We, ivory business world, have supported an ivory export quota system under Washington treaty promptly in 1985, and have cooperated with this system. But the cooperation became useless, international ivory dealings were prohibited in Washington treaty conference in 1989. After that, the ivory of 50 tons was imported from southern Africa legally in 1999.

We oppose to the extinction of the elephant absolutely. It is because our traditional craft will become extinct, too, if elephants die out. We protect the elephants with cooperating with the African countries-- the countrys of origin, and we want to keep the japanese traditional craft.

The actual condition of the African elephant

By the estimation in 1995, The African elephant is thought that about 600,000 are inhabiting the whole African land. If it is seen by the area, there are 225,000 in Central Africa, about 255,000 in Eastern Africa, about 228000 in Southern Africa, and about 115,000 in Western Africa.

Africa is a vast continent, the thing doesn't always happen to be the same in all the areas. Even in these areas, the southern African countries (for example, South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe), the number of elephants is on the increase remarkably in comparison with the beginning of the 20th century. In South Africa, before 100 years ago from now, there were only some 100 of the elephants. But, it is on the increase even to 12,000 nowadays.

There is a place where the number decreased from the country that of course Africa has a few elephants from the first, and a poaching countermeasure being insufficient, too. But, there is a thing as some countries in southern Africa when it increases too much and a bad influence is given to other wild creatures and a plant and friction is being started with the inhabitant of the area, too.

Of course, in Africa, there are areas where the number decreased because of that the countries which have a few elephants from the first, and the poaching countermeasure was insufficient, too. But, like some countries in southern Africa, for increasing too much, a bad influence is given to other wild creatures and plants, sometimes has caused friction with the inhabitant of the area.

About Sustainable Use

Sustainable Use, that meaning is " To use Creature, ecosystem or other resources which can reproduce, within the range of the regenerated ability. it is a form of the preservation. " In other words, It is the way of thinking that use the interest of the deposit of the bank, and not touch principal. The viewpoint has been reconfirmed in the earth summit held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, it becomes one of the purposes of many conservation of nature groups, like International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and WWF. Based on this thought, in the southern African countries, a part of the profit made from the use of the wild creature, including the elephant, is returned to the area inhabitant and the wild creature protection. By this, the coexistence of the inhabitant and the wild creature is being practiced.

The management of resources which take root in the area

Who are protecting the wild creature on earth? Are they the people who live in the city? Or, are they the people who coexist with the wild creature, though competing with, too, in the spot every day? The importance of the management of resources which take root in the area is pointed out in the earth summit held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, and the other international treaty conferences. In other words, it is important to lead them to the mind to take the lead to protect wild creature.

It was Zimbabwe that practiced this way of thinking promptly in Africa. In Zimbabwe, with the increase in the wild creature in the national park , elephants and so on appeared in the area except for the park, caused big friction with the area inhabitant. It is because wild creature such as elephants damage fields, demolish houses, and when it is radical, they even kill persons. Therefore, though many regulations are strengthened by law, as a self-defense, those wild creatures have been killed by the inhabitant. For preventing the friction between the inhabitant and the wild creature, Zimbabwe had a part of the admission fee of the National Park returned to the inhabitant. It is the project called WINDFALL. But, as a result, it failed. Zimbabwe put the project called CAMPFIRE into action based on those experience. WINDFALL was a selfish project by "the top", compared with it, The CAMPFIRE left responsibility of managing the wild creature to the area inhabitant. And, the area inhabitant can decided how to spend the profit which is made from the use of the wild creature, too. As a conclusion of this project, As something which will bring economical profit, the inhabitants considered the wild creature the thing which is of value, and came to protect actively. The management of resources which take root in the area, that the inhabitant of the area can accept, is being expected to be the prescription of the environment preservation facing a new century.

Ivory & Washington treaty

Washington treaty came into effect in 1975. The African elephant appeared on attached document Ⅰ of the treaty at that moment. The international commercial dealings of the species mentioned in attached document Ⅰ are prohibited. The African elephant didn't appear on neither of the attached documentsl. But, Ghana was put in attached document Ⅲ in the 1976, and in attached document Ⅱ in 1977.

Japan was added to Washington treaty as the 60th member nation in 1980. By joining it in 80, The import of the ivory of African elephant is illegal, it could be imported in the normal procedure, on the condition of having the permit of countries of origin, the re-exporting countries.

Then, the African elephant is moved from attached document Ⅱ until that time to attached document Ⅰ in Washington treaty conference in 89, and international ivory dealings were prohibited. For the disagreement with the all-out prohibition, southern African countries submitted a proposal to Washington treaty conference held in Zimbabwe in 97. As a result of the argument, the African elephants of three countries of Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia were returned to attached document .Ⅱ

Along with this decision, The ivory of 50 tons was imported from these 3 countries in spring of 1999 in Japan. And, South African elephant is returned to the attached document Ⅱ in the treaty conference in Kenya in 2000. In other words, elephant of four countries of southern Africa is decided to be put on the attached document Ⅱ at present.

However, the import in 99, is the experiment of one time limit, it can't be imported at present. Argument in Washington treaty conference is necessary again to import.
And, Washington treaty is an agreement about the international dealings, and there is no problem in the manufacture of the ivory product, and doing sales in Japan at all either in treaty or in Japanese law.


In the 10th Washington treaty member nation conference held in Zimbabwe in 1997, the African elephant of three countries in Botswana, Zimbabwe and Namibia is down listed from the treaty attached document Ⅰto Ⅱ, 50 tons of ivory was imported in Japan in spring of 1999 though it was a limited once. The condition when a going down list was done, is made the system of MIKE and ETIS carry out. This is because it gave careful consideration to fear with whether poaching and smuggling increase by the ivory dealings along with the going down list. In other words, it monitors poaching or smuggling in the inhabiting country of the elephant, by MIKE and ETIS.

MIKE (Monitoring Illegal Killing of Elephants) is the thing of "Monitoring poaching the elephant", it's intended for the elephant inhabiting stage of Africa and Asia. Because it is unacceptable to investigate all the areas, all the elephants, The area of investigation target is chosen, and so it's being monitored about the degree and tendency of poaching, the number of elephants and the poaching control. This project has already started in southern Africa and west Africa. To proceed with the project with ETIS, a large sum of expenses should be necessary, and therefore fund cooperation was done with JIA. The result of monitoring will be put together as a report by each country, and it will be submitted to Washington treaty bureau. It aims at making a database about the ivory seizure and the confiscation and recording the degree and the tendency of the illegal dealings and analyzing it. The country in which there were seizure and confiscation should provide the information to bureau within 90.

ETIS (Elephant Trade Information System) is the thing of "the elephant dealings information system". TRAFFIC which is the monitoring group of Washington treaty will analyze data, and a detailed report will be done in the member nation conference.

Domestic ivory management system

In Washington treaty, No more is being required than check in the customs in the import (a so-called waterfront regulation) toward the object of treaty. But, because the african elephant is a species which especially attention is necessary for, the Japanese Government took it into consideration in the international concern, and introduced a domestic dealings regulation. This is based on "Law of the preservation of the species of the wild animals and plants with fear of the extinction. " of the Ministry of Environment, it's a duty to register each ivory when ivory is sold or transferred. It isn't limited to the one which the original form was fastened with, even about the amputated ivory, ledger mention and so on is required. And, as for the seal, the government authorization seal can be affixed which proved that it is a product from the the ivory that is obtained properly. And the Japanese domestic management system as an appropriate one is evaluated high by the bureau of Washington treaty and the treaty standing committee

Contribution to the preservation of the African elephant

Since 1985, we, business world, have paid many efforts to contribute a fund to ivory department of Washington treaty bureau decided in the treaty conference, and so on. Recently, we are supporting the project of MIKE (Monitoring Illegal Killing of Elephants) that establishment was decided in 97 financially.

And, it let the member of an association know well to observe Washington treaty and domestic law. But, even if it is asked that what we craftsman can do? It's to cherish the ivory which is our professional raw material, and to make a good work. We will apply ourselves to the days study, not to exterminate the fire of the Japanese tradition craft.