These Wood Boxes Hold Centuries of Japanese Culture and Craftsmanship
Wood boxes are something of a national treasure in Japan, where Buddhist monks began tucking stoles, prayer beads, and other ritual implements into them more than 1,300 years ago. With the rise of teahouses a few centuries later, vessels specifically created for tea and tea-making tools appeared, symbolizing and safeguarding their contents, and bringing the tradition of kiribako—boxes handcrafted from paulownia, a native tree with lightweight, durable, water-resistant timber—into the mainstream. Today, Japanese manufacturers produce wood boxes for a wide variety of objects, including food, furniture, flowers, clothing, and even trash. Among the country’s most lauded container companies: Masuda Kiribako, which has been skillfully producing traditional receptacles since 1929.