Inden means “from India”. The art was named after Indian crafts which became popular in Edo era, but the art, leather goods made from buckskin has existed in Koshu, in Yamanashi prefecture, since more than 400 years ago.
Because buckskins are flexible but tough, they were used for armors and helmets in the Warring States period (around 14th century). In Edo era, when colorful leather goods are imported from India by foreigner, the goodness was also adopted and developed in various places in Japan through peaceful Edo era. And in Koshu, people started to use Japanese lacquer to decollate them.
Among all of them, only Koshu Inden survived and inherits the manufacturing method, now. It is said that because we can have fine buckskins and lacquers in Yamanashi Prefecture.
The decoration of Koshu Inden is just cool. Koshu Inden are usually made by stencil printing, and some have multiple colors, called “Sarasa”. Please see the sensitive, small patterns which animates nature such as flowers, animals, and unseen atmosphere. Young, hipper people are now adopting this fashion.
Koshu Inden was designated as Traditional Craft by METI (Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry) in 1987.