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Odate Bentwood Work

Odate Bentwood Work

Odate Bentwood is made in Odate city in Akita prefecture in northern Japan. It originated 1000 years ago thanks to the abundant supply of cedar in the deep woods of this area.

The wood is first cut in quarters that are sawn and split into narrow boards. These boards are immersed in boiling water for 10 to 15 minutes and then dry. By repeating this for a couple of hours the wood loses its natural oil and becomes flexible.

The flexible wood sheets are bent to create beautiful and extremely light objects. The ends are fixed together using cherry bark or glue. The antiseptic effect of the cedar makes bentwood popular for rice containers and bento boxes. Odate bentwood work embraces the principle of simplicity of Japanese design with its clear shapes that emphasize the natural beauty of the cedar slices.

Kurimori from Kurikyu   Kurikyu was established 1874 in Odate in the Akita prefecture. The city of Odate is well known for its bentwood craft. Japanese cedar wood is split into narrow boards which then are immersed into boiling water and bent multiple times before the board is pegged into shape and left to dry.

Shunji Kurimori is a well known master of Odate bentwood work and the sixth generation proprietor of Kurikyu. He received multiple awards for his works in Japan and also exhibited in England, Australia, China and New York. 

Kurikyu is famous for its traditional works as well as its design innovations to meet contemporary consumer preferences.

"With bentwood we only use wood that is quarter sawn, not sliced across, so it doesn't go black and is resistant to scratches. It's also light because you are just using this slices of wood." Mr. Kurimori says.

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