Since 1892, the candle making company Takazawa Candle has been providing the candlelight in harmony with nature from Japan.
Takazawa Candle has been making candles from the grace of plants such as the fruits of sumac tree, rice bran, and rapeseed flower oil since 1892.
The first candles in Japan were brought in from China in the 8th century and made from bees wax. Bees wax, as a material, it was not familiar to our ancestors so they tried to make candles from the wax derived from plants. The sumac wax was soft and easy to form into the shape of a candle and so by the 16th century it had become the standard material for candle-making in Japan.
A flickering flame has always fascinated us. It might evoke images in our mind, or memories from the past, or perhaps feelings about our primitive nature.
Our candles' flames are bigger and brighter than other companies. The flame comes from a special wick made from a unique recipe dating back to the 16th century, and it is the symbol of ancestral wisdom. At a time when there were no electric lights, light means candles, and a lot of thought was put into making candlelight brighter. Our wick is made from plant-based materials such as dried rush and washi-paper, thus symbolising the beautiful relationship between our ancestors and nature.
The powerful flame, flickering from the simple silhouette of a candle, producing shadows in a room, creates a great atmosphere that makes you feel relaxed while you spend time with your family and close friends.
The city of Nanao, in Ishikawa Prefecture, flourished as a port of call for Kitamae "Northbound ships" due to its excellent natural port in the Edo Period (1603 - 1868).
Sumac wax from Kyushu region and Japanese paper (wa-shi) from Iwami (in Shimane Prefecture), used for wicks, were brought to Nanao to produce candles. The finished product was then transported throughout Japan by Kitamae ship. There were many guilds, which made candles, in Nanao until the late 19th century. Takazawa Candle was established in 1892. Today, we are the only candle maker keeps this tradition alive in Nanao.
The day at the Takazawa Candle factory starts at 5 AM in winter and 6 o'clock in summer by lighting fires under the kettles to melt the wax.
We burn thinning from nearby forests on the Noto peninsula for three big kettle and put the raw wax into each one depending on which type of candles we'll be making that day.
To make a traditional Japanese candle, we start with the candle's wick. The wick is made by winding dried rushes around hollow cord of wa-shi (Japanese paper). The hollow core of the wick allows oxygen to be drawn up from the bottom so that the flame consumes more melted wax, thus increasing the combustion power and creating a powerful flame.
Next we create the candle shape by pouring melted wax into wooden or metallic moulds. After the wax has set, we remove it from the moulds and finish shaping by hand with a small knife.