The origins of gold leaf making in Kanazawa is unclear, but it is known to have been already been in production at least during the late 16th century, based on a historical document that recorded the Kaga Domain (in present-day Ishikawa Prefecture) ordering the manufacture of gold and silver leaf.
During the Edo period (1603-1868), the shogunate prohibited the manufacture and sales of gold and silver leaf everywhere except in Edo (present-day Tokyo) and Kyoto, but the Kaga Domain continued to make gold leaf in secret. After the Tokugawa shogunate fell and the ban was lifted, production of Kanazawa gold leaf increased dramatically. Blessed with a climate and water quality ideal for gold leaf production, Kanazawa has established itself as the leading producer of the craft.
Kanazawa gold leaf now accounts for around 98% of all the gold leaf produced in Japan. Besides being used to decorate structures and craft works, it has also found use in food, beauty products, and many other fields.
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