'Kainowa'shell craft accessory studio is in Hamahigashima Island, Uruma City.
Words by Hiroko Okuda
Gift from Hamahigashima island
Time passes very slowly in Hamahigashima island. Although the main land of Okinawa is losing its characteristics and becoming busier because of urbanization, this small island still remains slow 'Okinawan time.' Makoto Kawahatsu(35) lives with his family and has a workshop here. His hometown is Sapporo, in Hokkaido, which is in the north part of Japan, and he moved here 12 years ago. After worked as a company employee for two years, he quitted the job and started shell art.Now he is working hard creating shell crafts in this traditional island with beatiful ocean and quiet rural views.
Encounter with shell crafts
12 years ago, he knew a shellfish called a turban shell for the first time. That's when he was working for a diving shop, thanks to the owner whose hobby was to polish shells.
Makoto also started to polish shells and he was very impressed by their beauty. Several years later after quitted diving shop, he suddenly thought to create a ring using a shell. He had done it better than he expected. "I couldn't stop, because every time I found it very interesting that they have various expressions." Soon, he became fascinated by it. By polishing shells, various patters appear. Each shell has particular patterns, particular beauty, and that's beyond all imagination. He strongly feels the magnificence of nature from these things.
Start from zero
Shells become brighter and more beautiful by polishing. This is the only one thing that he can believe while making shell crafts. There are no fixed rules how to make shell crafts.
Because shells are very delicate, it's difficult to complete all processes without any failures.He went through multiple failures and developed his own way.It was not easy, but he enjoyed finding the best method including trial and error. He was speaking with smile that he had been too anxious about polishing shells and became bronchitis.
At this very moment
Makoto knew that working as an employee is not what he really wanted to do, but when he considered his family, it was very difficult to make a decision to quit his job.Meanwhile, one of his former classmates died of illness. At that time, he realized for the first time that 'tomorrow' is not promised. In life, nothing is certain but 'this very moment.' Even '10 years later' or '20 years later,' that's just accumulation of 'this very moment.' What is important is how you feel and how you want to live now.After talking with family, he came to the conclusion that the best choice was to do shell art. He feels that the friend made him choose this way.
Choose the best way to be yourself
Every person has suitable environment and the way to do something depending on one's purpose, Makoto believes. Now he feels much more fulfilled than when he worked in a company. Choosing the way of shell craft was the right decision for him.He strongly wishes that many people can find the best way for themselves and feel a sense of accomplishment like him. That's why he creates shell crafts with his whole heart hoping that his work may give you a hint to find the best way.