World Radio and TV

Working Lives Kyoto

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.