Greetings from Park Hyatt Tokyo. I am the Chef de Cuisine of Kozue, Kenichiro Ooe.
When you dine at Kozue, you will notice that we have a large selection of Japanese dishes that are presented during the course of your meal.
I have personally hand selected over 4,000 of the serving dishes that are used at Kozue and have chosen them according to the season and the type of cuisine I prepare. Amongst these dishes you will see that some of them are finished products of kintsugi, a traditional Japanese method for repairing broken ceramics with lacquer mixed with gold.
It is believed that lacquer has been used to repair ceramics since the Stone Ages however this method became widespread in Japan when the art of Japanese tea ceremonies popularized during the Muromachi period (14th to 16th Century).
Kintsugi was originally used to repair broken and scratched tea bowls used in Japanese tea ceremonies as a decorative technique that incorporates the damaged areas in the finished product. The result of the new design of the tea bowls with this artwork was greatly appreciated and is now considered to be a widely respected traditional Japanese art form.
The philosophy of this technique was to not only show appreciation for broken and damaged valuables such as the ceramics and porcelain from China at the time, but to refurbish them into unique art pieces. The appeal of kintsugi is the result of repairing something broken into an aesthetically pleasing piece. The over-decorating of kintsugi on a dish could end up looking cheap and less refined. Therefore, there is a difference in value of the pieces, whether it is by how valuable they were before the damages or by the way they are presented with kintsugi.
The technique of using gold lacquer is most commonly known. However, there are other methods to choose from such as gintsugi, a silver lacquer, tomotsugi, a lacquer that blends in with the color of the dish and byakudan-shiage, a wooden lacquer with a precious sandalwood polish finish.
The grand tradition of kintsugi is now recognized overseas as Japanese artistry for its unique, translucent aesthetic. I sincerely hope that next time you dine at Kozue and discover a kintsugi piece, you will appreciate its beauty while you enjoy your meal.