Odate Kougeisha is one of the oldest companies that makes “Magewappa" - traditional Japanese bending wood crafts in Odate City, Akita Prefecture in Japan.
The traditional Magewappa with a history of 1,300 years are carefully made one by one by craftsmen with time and care using the same unchanged techniques.
About Odate Kougeisha
Odate Kougeisha is a Magewappa company established in 1959, continuing the 1300 year old Magewappa manufacturing process while creating various Magewappa designs to fit the modern lifestyle. Using Akita cedar, one of Japan's most precious trees, with its warm, beautiful color and uniform grain, Odate Kougeisha produces a variety of tableware that is light, supple, and has a pleasant aroma.
The company handles the entire process of making Magewappa, from purchasing Akita cedar logs, lumbering, bending, sewing with cherry bark strip, attaching the bottom, and finishing. Now 26 craftsmen, including 5 traditional craftsmen recognized in Japan, are making Magewappa in Odate Kougeisha.
Traditional and Modern Style of Odate Kougeisha
Odate Kougeisha produces Magewappa that inherits the traditional manufacturing method of Magewappa, but also produces Magewappa with a modern design that fits the today's dining scene. The company's Magewappa products are now popular especially among the younger generation and around the world. The company has received offers from prominent interior design stores in Tokyo, and its bento boxes have become a hit in Europe.
Mr. Kazuo Mitsukura, president of the company, said "I believe that carrying on traditional crafts means continuously creating products and passing the baton to the next generation. That is why I make it my motto to make products with sincerity".
The company tries to convey through their activities that Magewappa can be used for a long time if they are used with care, and their work in repairing 30-year-old Magewappa is proof of their reliable quality and craftsmanship.
From the Nature of Akita, Japan
Odate Kougeisha's Magewappa is made of Akita cedar, an endemic Japanese cedar known as a great tree in Japan. Odate Kougeisha uses two types of Akita cedar: natural Akita cedar grown in the wild and artificially planted Akita cedar with a beautiful reddish color. The company continues to make traditional Magewappa while preserving nature and resources by strategically planting and harvesting Akita cedar while protecting the natural Akita cedar. The mission of the company is to resolve concerns about "wood" and to bridge the gap for future generations.
In particular, natural Akita cedar is considered one of Japan's three most beautiful forests and is a natural forest of 200~250 year old cedars. Since 2012, the company has not cut down the trees for the purpose of nature conservation, but only for stock use.
The appeal of Odate Kougeisha's Magewappa is first of all that its material, Akita cedar, has the ability to make rice taste better. Its humidity control function allows white rice to taste its best, so Magemono bowls can be used as rice bowls or Donburi bowls, and Jubako bento box are ideal for rice-based dishes such as rice balls and sushi. They can also be used for a variety of meals, such as soups, stir-fries, steamed dishes, and fried dishes.
Magewappa's simple design makes it easy to blend with any tableware on your table, and the natural grain of Akita cedar is picturesque, so by using Magewappa in your daily utensils such as coffee or tea cups and trays, you will be able to keep the blessings of Japanese nature close at your hand.