Japanese cherrybark woodcrafts (Kaba Zaiku)

Japanese cherrybark woodcrafts called Kaba Zaiku is made in Akita Prefecture in north-eastern Japan. Normally Kaba means birch but here it refers to the bark of wild cherry trees. In Japan, this woodcraft of using cherrybark is found only in Akita. 

(Photo: Kaba cherrybark woodcraf saucers)

It is said that this craft started around 1781-88 in this region, which was brought by a Samurai called Fujimura. In the beginning, it was a way for a lower-class Samurai family to make a living. However, when the regional lord encouraged this woodcraft, it became one of the main handcraft in the area.

(Photo: Kaba cherrybark woodcraft boxes)

The characteristics of Kaba cherrybark woodcrafts lie in its durability, the ability to retain and repel mositure. By using this cherrybark with its unique natural pattern and subdued color, the local artisans create products such as tea utensils, boxes to organise things, trays, flower vases, mobile phone cases, accessories like brooches and pendants.

(Photo: Kaba cherrybark tea cans)

There are 3 different techniques in the Kaba cheerybark woodcrafts, depending on the shape the crafts person is creating.

In 1976 Kaba cherrybark was designated as a traditional craft, which was the first in Akita Prefecture.

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