History of the HAKUICHI

Towards the Birth of the Beauty of the Kanazawa Gold Leaf

HAKUICHI was founded in 1975. Our founder, Kuniko Asano, overturned the old industry norms and started the production of the “Kanazawa Gold-leafed Craft” of the metal leaf manufacturer. Let us take you through the history of the metal leaf, growing from the supporting role to the leading role as the regional brand of the “Kanazawa Gold Leaf”, and that of the HAKUICHI, the founder of Kanazawa’s traditional craft of the “Kanazawa Gold-leafed Craft”.

“Kanazawa Gold-leafed Craft” and “Oil Blotting Paper”.
Two Traditions of Kanazawa Started at HAKUICHI.

Founded in 1975. Our history started when our founder, Kuniko Asano, developed the regional brand of the “Kanazawa Gold Leaf” out of metal leaves, mere supporting actors until then. The name “HAKUICHI” came from the fact that we were the first metal leaf manufacturer to produce the “Kanazawa Gold-leafed Craft”. And, we cannot forget oil blotting paper, known all over Japan now. The history of the “Oil Blotting Paper Made by the Gold Pounding Paper Production Method”, the popular and highest quality oil blotting paper, parallels our history. Noticing that the grass paper, the by-product of gold leaf production, is fondly used by maiko girls of Kyoto, we decided to specifically manufacture the “by-product” as the “oil blotting paper” and commercialized the first “Oil Blotting Paper Made by the Gold Pounding Paper Production Method” in Japan in 1976.
At first, both products were sold at department stores mainly in Tokyo but also nationwide. The sales of the “Kanazawa Gold-leafed Craft” and “Oil Blotting Paper” of HAKUICHI gradually grew over the course of our nationwide promotion.

Opened the First Store in Kanazawa 10 Years after the Founding. Committed to Being a Part of Kanazawa That Locals Adore.

Experiencing numerous setbacks for some time after the founding, we endured a long journey until our business started to pick up. Our “Kanazawa Gold-leafed Craft” was first recognized in Kanto and Kasai, then spread nationwide. And it took over 10 years since the founding to gain awareness in our hometown of Kanazawa. That was when the “KOHRINBO ATRIO store” in the heart of downtown Kanazawa, our very first store, opened its door.
At the same time, we started the new business to broaden the horizon of gold leaf; the edible gold leaf and the technique to enable the gold-leafing experience that is now a major tourism.
We realized that we could not differentiate with gold powder or “crashed gold” that was the norm in food industry, and focused on the product development with higher added value. Among the outcomes were the “Dream Dynasty (presently, Anniversary Gold Leaf)” in the celebratory letters and the gold leaf spray to broaden the ways to animate the culinary scenes. Another innovation of ours, ahead of other companies, was the gold leaf over the proprietary film to enable easy gold-leafing experience with no special tools. It immediately gained popularity.

In Order to Communicate the Beauty of Gold Leaf along with the Charm of Kanazawa

We started to receive more and more prefectural and national recognition as if to prove the nationwide acceptance as well as in Kanazawa.
We believe it also proved that the passion of our founder for the “daily use ‘Kanazawa Gold Leaf’” evolved into the product development in various fields of food, clothes and shelter, became available nationwide, and earned appreciation for the value it gave.
Our current headquarter building was constructed in 1997. Conveniently located right by the Kanazawa Nishi Exit, our headquarter building, “HAKUKOKAN”, serves as our “head office” as well as the “comprehensive gold leaf museum”. This facility is meant to offer the beauty, dignity and morbidezza of gold leaf visually, aurally, tactilely, and in palate. This large-scale facility welcomes visitors from our hometown of Kanazawa as well as outside the Prefecture, thanks to the convenient location.
With the main store serving as our business hub, we have opened more stores in the tourist destinations in Kanazawa, and expanded into many other business areas.

Evolution in Tradition Called the “Kanazawa Gold Leaf”. In an Effort to Inherit the Traditional Beauty to Succeeding Generations.

Starting from the launch of Tokyo Office, we initiated the global expansion. We participated in the trade fairs in Germany and France to cultivate the overseas markets. We also reinforced our Technical Development Dept. to significantly enhance our capability in the architectural business.
This period was also the time when the “Kanazawa Gold-leafed Craft”, formerly known only for traditional items such as plates, jubako boxes, and saucers, expanded the collaboration projects with other industries to eliminate the old-fashioned image. One example was an USB flash drive finished with lacquer work and the “Kanazawa Gold-leafed Craft”. And the collaboration with the Italian lighting equipment manufacturer and a major electrical appliance manufacturer followed. With the increasing needs for gold-leafed materials by other industries including the transportation such as the Kyushu Shinkansen and tourist coaches that imposes more stringent requirements, on top of the interior décor for commercial facilities and other architecture, HAKUICHI has successfully added shines and sparkles to various articles while heightening its technical capability.

Constructing the New Production Capability of Traditional Crafts. Communicating Gold Leaf from Kanazawa to the World.

We have repeated new challenges and reformation in all business areas, and achieved the solid expansion in this period.
In the tourism, the overall tourist traffic in Kanazawa changed significantly with the launch of Hokuriku Shinkansen in March, 2015. With stores in major tourist destinations in Kanazawa, HAKUICHI enhanced the capability of our store network to meet the shopping and experiential needs of every customers.
Also, Hokuriku Shinkansen being the hot topic, the demand for our products outside of Kanazawa increased as well, and we enhanced our production capacity focusing on crafts - HAKUICHI Yasuhara Fifth Factory - in spring of 2017. This factory with the state-of-art equipment and see-thru glass walls looks nothing like the closed image of the conventional traditional craft makers, and aims to serve as the communication base of the beauty of the Kanazawa Gold Leaf to the world through the industry tourism.