About This Project

Myth Discovery of Urushi (Prince Yamatotakeru)


In Volume 5 (“u” section) of the Book of Japanese Plants of the first Japanese language dictionary known as “Iroha-jirui-shou,” created in the twelfth century, a story recorded as follows.

“Prince Yamatotakeru was on a hunting excursion in Mt. Aki of Uda. He shot an arrow at a large boar, but could not make a fatal impact. His follower broke a branch of Urushi to extract its juice, and painted it onto an arrowhead. The prince shot the arrow, and this time he was able to bring the boar down. Realizing that the extract had stained his hands black, he ordered his followers to collect the tree extract. As the Prince painted his belongings with the extract, they were dyed black with a shiny glow.”

The area has since been called Urushigawara (currently Ureshigarawa in Ouda), and “Nuribe-no-Miyakko (City of Urushi) was established at Sone, deep in the Uda countryside.

Mt. Aki, in Uda, is located about 1.2 miles from the house where I was born. There used to be wild Urushi woods everywhere in Uda. Komoriku, in Uda, was once a hunting field for the court of Yamato.

Gold Urushi Artwork

21 1/2 x 21 in.

Laquer, Nature, People