Korean-born violin maker Jin Chang Heryern has died at the age
of 82. A resident of Japan since the age of 14, he was one of the
first Asian luthiers to be recognised by the Violin Society of
America. Jin’s work received five gold medals in the society’s 1976
competition in Philadelphia.
Originally intending to be a professional violinist, Jin turned to making in 1949 after hearing a professor at the University of Tokyo declare the art of lutherie dead. He began making instruments in Nagano but returned to Tokyo in 1962, when violin tutor Hirotsugu Shinozaki saw the potential of his work and bought several violins.
Jin, also known as Chen Chang-hyun (the Japanese version of his name), received an arts and culture award from the International Society for the Promotion of Japanese Culture in 1998. A biography, The Violin across the Channel, was published in 2002. It has since been released in South Korea and Taiwan, and adapted into a comic strip and a television drama. In 2008 Jin received Korea’s Order of Civil Merit at a ceremony in Seoul.