"Matsu ni kokon no iro nashi"
Before we launched Sansho we thought about what, if anything, made our products 'authentic'. The more we thought about, the more 'authentic' struck us as meaningless. Some things come from long-established families and traditions and some from people who have just started. Some things belong to a particular, identifiable tradition and some are just extensions of their creator's imagination. It doesn't matter - they are all made in Japan by people we like, that is all that authentic means for us.
So with this in mind we chose the name sansho based on an old Zen Buddhist saying “Matsu ni kokon no iro nashi” (which is featured on our About Us page). Below is the original scroll that we took it from, by my grandfather Enkai oshō san, in Chōsenji temple.
It means “young or old, the pine tree is always green” – traditional skills will inevitably have to change and adapt to their times just as the pine tree does, but that does not dilute their tradition or authenticity. As Basho himself said, “Tread not in the footsteps of the past, but seek what they sought”.