Metalwork (kinkō) is the art of crafting objects from metal. Metal is an important material used to produce a wide variety of objects used in everyday life. The properties of metal vary significantly from the materials of other craft categories.


  • 1 A metal is selected
  • 2-1 The form is cast

    Metal casting (chūkin) is the process of creating forms by pouring molten metal into a mold and then allowing the metal to cool and harden. Forms may be created using different techniques, such as lost-wax casting (rōgata), clay mold casting (sōgata), or sectioned mold casting (komegata). The mold is essential to the casting process.

  • 2-2 The form is hammer formed

    Hammer forming (tankin) is the process of expanding and shaping metal by striking it with a hammer. The metal is repeatedly heated to increase its malleability and worked with a hammer while soft.

  • 3 Ornamentation is applied

    Chisels and punches with specially shaped heads are used to embellish the piece or produce recesses for metal inlay or other decorations.

Artistic Techniques


Forms are cast from molten metal

Hammer forming

Forms are shaped with a hammer

Chisel work

Decorative techniques

  • Reference: Nihon Kōgeikai Higashi Nihon Shibu (Japan Kōgei Association Eastern Branch), ed., Dentō kōgei-tte nani? – miru, shiru, tanoshimu gaido bukku (What Are Traditional Crafts? –A Guidebook to Seeing, Learning, and Enjoying). Unsodo, 2013.

Well-known crafts