"Cherry Bark Craft"
Kabazaiku is a craft made in Akita Prefecture, northern Japan, from the bark of the Japanese cherry tree. The mysterious silk or metal-like luster unique to cherry tree bark and the deep color of the tree are used to create tools of unparalleled beauty. It is a traditional Japanese craft with a history of about 250 years.
Kabazaiku is a type of woodwork made from the bark of the mountain cherry tree originated in Tohoku region, called “Kaba" in old Japanese, and is produced in Kakunodate City, Akita Prefecture, Japan. It is a traditional craft handed down only in Akita Prefecture , and is one of the most valuable handcrafts in Japan.
It is said that Kabazaiku began in the 1780s when the technique was introduced to Kakunodate by a “Shugenja" Buddhist monk from the Ani region in northern Akita Prefecture. When the technique was first introduced, it was a sideline job for low-ranking samurai, but with the support of the domain, it gradually took root as a local industry and was favored as a souvenir.
In the Meiji era (1868-1912), many of the samurai who handed down the Kabazaiku technique went on to become full-fledged craftsmen. Later, Kabazaiku was discovered in a nationwide folk art movement in Japan, and its techniques were further improved, and in 1976, it was recognized as a traditional Japanese craft.
The Charm of Kabazaiku Cherry Bark
The characteristics of Kabazaiku are that it is excellent in preventing both humidity and drying, yet it is robust.
The elegant luster of the cherry bark as well as the simple beauty of the patterns on the bark make it a favorite tea ware for tea canisters and tea trays, etc. Particularly, the tea canister is a very desirable utensil for sencha lovers, as it keeps the aroma and flavor of the tea leaves properly preserved due to the moisture and drying proofing effects of the birch work.
Kaba-zaiku has three techniques: “Katamono,” "Kijimono," and “Tatamimono". Katamono is a technique for making cylindrical products such as tea canisters, in which the paper-thin wood and bark are wrapped around a cylindrical wooden mold and pasted together while being held down with a hot metal trowel. Kijimono is a technique for making box-shaped products, such as letter boxes and trays, by applying bark to the base wood. Tatamimono is a technique in which polished bark is applied in layers to make it thicker, and then carved.
Kabazaiku is a craft that uses bark, which is unique in the world. As a material with both moisture-proof and dryness-proof properties, it is suitable for tea canisters and other utensils.
As a green tea fan, Kabazaiku tea ware is a must-have, high-quality tool.Kabazaiku is also very beautiful as a decoration, and even just having a coaster on your table can create a soothing, Japanese taste atmosphere. Please enjoy the natural cherry bark patterns and their rich beauty.
Yatsuyanagi was founded in 1876 and has been manufacturing Kabazaiku for generations in the nature-rich Kakunodate area of Akita Prefecture. While inheriting the traditional technique of using delicate and precise skills, they also produce tools and polished Kaba jewel-like accessories that are safe and secure, easy to use, and beautiful to accompany modern life.
All of the Kabazaiku items handled by MUSUBI KILN is manufactured by Yatsuyanagi.