Working Lives Kyoto

WATCH: Yuzo Nakamura is 82, but has no plans to retire from his traditional craft

Yuzo Nakamura is a craftsman who makes a living using the skills handed down by his forebears.

He is a tatami mat maker and works in the family company founded in 1818.

The business is tiny and operates from a workshop at the front of the Nakamura's wooden family home in an old district of the city.

They hand-make the tatami mats, stitching the layers together and supply them to Kyoto's many temples. Mr Nakamura's son-in-law and grandson are also involved in the business.

Traditional craftsmanship is still a major industry in Kyoto. But Mr Nakamura worries that fewer people in Japan have tatami mats on their floors these days.

Suppliers are also a problem. The firm gets the woven top layers of the tatami mats from a craftsman in Hiroshima, but he is now elderly.

Mr Nakamura is 82 years old, but says he has no plans to retire.


  • Cesc FabregasFair price?

    Have some football clubs overpaid for their new players?

  • Woman and hairdryerBlow back

    Would banning high-power appliances actually save energy?

  • Members of staff at James Stevenson Flags hold a Union Jack and Saltire flag UK minus Scotland

    Does the rest of the UK care if the Scots become independent?

  • Women doing ice bucket challengeChill factor

    How much has the Ice Bucket Challenge achieved?

  • Women in front of Windows XP posterUpgrade angst

    Readers share their experiences of replacing their operating system

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.