Inomoto-san Dai Maker
Inomoto-san and his signature
Mr. Inomoto's shop is in Sanjo, Niigata prefecture.
Inomoto-san grew up in a dai making family has been a working professional dai-ya since he was 15 years old, his entire adult life. As a young man working in his fathers shop he said that the competition to get contracts for making dai was very stiff. In those times because the foundries were so busy there were over 300 dai-ya in the Niigata area. All of the dai-ya in his fathers shop, he said, had to be very fast and accurate to keep their prices down so they could compete with the other dai shops.
I watched him measure, cut and finish a white oak dai in 25 minutes. He claims is it a 2 hour process,but in any case he is a fury of a worker. The photo to the right shows one of his drying rooms complexes. Inomoto-san has in stock about 30,000 blocks, or 10 years worth of oak blocks drying in sequences. Inomoto-san says he air dries his wood 6 years before making it up into dai.
Dai wood stacks
Inomoto with sudent
Wall of tools
Foot operated vice to hold wood dai block