"Inami International Wooden Sculpture Camp," called "Camp", has been held in Inami area of Nanto City every four years since 1991, with the theme of "To Bring the World Together through Wooden Sculpture."
Throughout the Camp, sculptors invited from around the world complete their wooden sculpture works in open air work places, so that not only sculptors but also all visitors can communicate with one another. This setup creates a supportive environment rather than that of a competition. This program makes it possible to promote international understandings and cultural exchanges, as each work represents the national traits, traditions and culture of each country.
Also, the volunteer staff plays key role in organizing the Camp. Their role is widely varied from translator, public relations staff, receptionist and guide at the Camp venue, cleaner and so on. The past Camps could take place thanks to a large number of these volunteers from inside and outside of the City.
In total 123 sculptors and 12 groups from 43 countries, including Japan, participated in past Camps. In the Camp, you’ll see sculpture technique of overseas artists directly, and many international exchange events also take place there in collaboration with participating sculptors. This makes the Camp one of the biggest event of wood sculpture in Japan, and now it is widely known as a notable event of international exchanges representing Nanto City and Toyama Prefecture.
In 2019, the 8th edition of Camp will take place at “Inami Geijutsu no Mori Park” in Inami, Nanto City, for 13 days from August 18th (Sunday) through the 30th (Friday). It is neighboring “Inami Sculpture General Hall” and “Inami Kibori no Sato Soyukan”. Also,“Daimon River Park”where you can see sculptural works created in the past Camps is near there. We hope you enjoy this environment full of arts, which provides artisans’ exquisite skills, sculptural works with vivid ethnic traits, and direct contact with sculptors.
We’re looking forward to welcoming you in the town of woodcarving, Inami, Nanto city.
About Woodcarving in Inami
Inami region, Nanto city, has prospered as a temple town of famous “Zuisen-ji Temple” to the present day. The origin of woodcarving in Inami is deeply connected with this Zuisen-ji Temple.
The Zuisen-ji Temple was inaugurated by the holy priest Shakunyo-shonin in the early Muromachi Era (early 14th Century – late 16th Century). The temple was burnt down several times by fire, but each time it was reconstructed. Furthermore, the temple was attacked with fire by a military commander Narimasa SASA in the Sengoku Era (16th Century), and it was burnt down again by the Great Fire of Inami in the middle Edo Era (18th Century).
For the reconstruction of the main building of the temple in this middle Edo Era, the officially-certificated sculptor Sanshiro MAEKAWA was sent from Hongan-ji Temple in Kyoto (the head temple of the Jodo-Shinshu Sect of Buddhism) to Inami, and he taught his technique to four local temple carpenters, including Shichiemon, the 9th generation of Bansho-ya (local carpentry). This historical fact being said to be the very origin of “Woodcarving in Inami”.
Pupils of the woodcarvers in Inami who reconstructed the Zuisen-ji Temple had been creating numerous sculptural works for shrines and temples around the country, including Higashi Hongan-ji, Tokyo Tsukiji Hongan-ji and Nikko Tosho-gu. Also, many woodcarvers among them worked actively creating decorative wooden panels for residence, decorative objects such as shishigashira (head of lion) and so on. Over years, the techniques of Inami woodcarving have been handed down and developed, now we can say that Inami is one of the biggest production centres of woodcarving in Japan which has about 200 woodcarvers and about 150 sculpture workshops.
Furthermore, Inami was designated as the “Japan Heritage” in May 2018, gaining in recognition as the“Museum of Woodcarving”, originated with just a chisel of temple carpenter. This designation was made with recognition of several characteristics of the town where the whole town is decorated with woodcarving signs and doorplates everywhere, and sculpture workshops and traditional merchant buildings stand along the streets, especially the Yoka-machi Street, which is cobbled and a main street of the town.