From Shizuo's website: (Edited for grammar)
In 1976 there was a small pipe smoking boom in Japan, because pipe smoking was considered better for one's health than smoking cigarettes.
My pipe collection had increased considerably since I started smoking at the age of 20. I completed a fine pipe in one day from a pipe-kit which was presented to me by my wife on my 40th birthday.
Since then, I have been absorbed in making pipes and have made more than 2,000 pipes in the past 30 years. These pipes are favored by many Japanese pipe smokers.
I was born in 1935 and am 71 years (2006) old. I was in business for 40 years, during which time I had been making pipes for 20 years. Eight years ago I retired from business and had more free time and was able to pursue many hobbies. Pipe making is also one of my hobbies and it is not the purpose to obtain an income, but is a creative activity aimed at making pipes.
I make about 100 pipes a year. Since I enjoy making pipes, I am not going to make more than that in a year. It seems that many pipe-makers design their own shapes and designs, and then proceed to repeat these designs. In my case, pipe making is a creation which asks for enjoyment, and I am always pursuing new designs.
About a good pipe for me
A hand made pipe is a tool for smoking tobacco. I think that the pipe which has fine briar grain and has a beautifully designed shape, gives you further satisfaction and a wonderful feeling when you touch it, as in art. I believe the pipe is similar to ceramic art which has a firm status as an art, and the requirements for such pipes are;
1. Many years of usage, trouble-free precision and construction, and a procurement of good briar.
2. For the tobacco to taste nice, the shape of bowl, diameter of the draft hole, flow of smoke, etc. have to be taken into consideration.
3. Quality of briar and grain has to be good, and flawless.
4. Grain has to be revealed clearly and the design composed of beautiful streams of curved lines, matching the grain.
5. Never tiring of the pipe, so that the more you use it, the more you get used to it, becoming so attached to it, that you could never part with it.
Website: Shizuo Arita E-mail: mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org