Kamo Kiri TansuKamo Paulowina Chests

Thing which carpenter produced at the beginning of the 19th century is informed with beginning of Kamo Kiri Tansu. "The 1814 (Bunka 11) purchase" and chest written down are used for ceiling of chest even now in the city.
"A kind of family crest painting" (yashatoso) was developed at the beginning of the Showa era, and design of current paulownia chest was completed. We produce 70% of nation-wide paulownia chests in Kamo and ship to the whole country widely from Hokkaido to Kyushu.

It seems that the making of Kamo Kiri Tansu began with one made by a carpenter in the early part of the 19th century. The very same chest is still being used in the city of Kamo today and it is inscribed on the back with ""Purchased 1814"".
In 1928 the yashatoso--a type of finishing varnish--was developed and the present design and style of the Kamo Kiri Tansu was completed. Nowadays, 70% of all paulownia chest made in Japan come from Kamo and are shipped all over the county.

Paulownia is a light colored wood with a sheen, a real sense of quality and a beauty that is likened to silk. The light colored quarter-saw boards of these chests look as though they have been lightly streaked with brown and the gain of this timber has a beauty unmatched by any other furniture. With perfectly fitting draws, they open and close easily, protect their contents from extremes of temperature, and offer long lasting projection.

  • Notification

    skills and techniques

    Drying is thing by naturally drying.

    Assume board to use pure board. In this case, when when thickness of board is to top plate, side plate, shelf board and bunch board, do with higher than 19 millimeters, and there is to baseplate of ground board, ceiling and drawer; 7 millimeters of things.

    By miter joint as for the joining of top plate for side plate and ground board in front and composing type piece which there is that we cross and hit grafted tree nail or 11 pieces of groups are more than in that we do, and five pieces of groups are more than in, the joining of shelf board is thing by edge stopping fossula tenon piece, flashing aspect fossula tenon piece or sword flagging down fossula tenon piece.

    The joining of material of drawer is thing by parcel without hesitation piece, composing type piece, composing type piece which there is or composing type piece which we wrap, and there is.

    When attach door or sliding door, thing by the next technique or technique.

    When is in Chinese brocade, do thickness of board with 19 millimeters or more, and, as for the joining of material, the edge shut; is thing by ha ryukeihon zanehozo edge bame piece again.

    When there is to end plate more than 19 millimeters when there is thickness of board to material of frame when is to frame thing, do with higher than 7 millimeters, the joining of material is thing by ryukei yatoizane piece.

    Use "sewing nail" for side plate and the joining with foot.

    After having been with "polish" using, "ugh, it is made" and "the yashabushi coloration", finish grinds "roumigaki".

    Raw materials

    Assume bare wood drill.

    It be said that nail has product made in Japanese sunflower or materials which are equal to this.

    Metal fittings are copper, copper compound metal or to be iron.


  • Work scenery

    There is many particularly close processing in Kamo Kiri Tansu. We tear off several boards, and we provide taste of board turning in total at special technique, and process that labor and time extremely suffers from has its straight-grained board of finish and the front and back stolen by one piece of board excellent in total just to make paulownia board of material. Furthermore, in Kamo Kiri Tansu, we join group which does not use iron nail at all and protect tradition of various joining technique such as tenon piece, wooden nail. We are made while being relatively simple, and suppressing coating, and focusing on functionality to keep the pale yellow paulownia original cortex beauty alive.

    Process 1: Logging and lumber production

    The choice of materials is easy to perform by consistency work from place where paulownia chest of Kamo produces raw woods unlike other production centers. After the felling, we perform nature drying of approximately three years, and removing the astringency of paulownia materials is in this way done, and change of color and confusion do not occur to product.
    Paulownia materials are faster-growing than other trees class, and height of the tree becomes approximately 4-5 meters in the first year. But branch grows big if fast-growing, and there is aspect that there is easy to be pest for soft wood, and it is easy to be for wound. Therefore there is no most of the flawless paulownias, and, as for difficulty materials, the good timber, it is to approximately a one-third two-thirds among one paulownia. In the case of sawing, scrupulous attention and mastery of skills are required to utilize little good timber to the maximum.

    Process 2: Timber conversion

    Each material is sorted by right person for the right place and while experienced craftsman minds grain of wood alignment and color, we sort out materials of the same quality and put together.
    In this process, we tear off several paulownia boards, and in total one piece of board is made. We put processing called "grain of wood rectification" so that board to peel which straight-grained board went along straight then shows. This is work to let wood which we broke along straight-grained board thinly form on both sides of wood becoming core how many things it is. In this way, we make hyomasazai, rimasazai, heart and we put them together and make each material.

    Process 3: Assembling

    It is solid, and paulownia chest of Kamo is assembled in unique traditional technique to drive wooden nail, and the body is finished.
    Joining methods include group piece or tenon piece. As well as wooden nail, sharp bamboo nail of both ends of around 10 centimeters called cramp is used for side plate and the joining with part of foot.

    Process 4: Drawer (tray) door processing

    We put drawer and door into the body without gap while regulating with plane.
    The making of drawer (tray) begins with the training of front board. We add dimensions and planned shelf board to be absorbed in and sound front board of drawer with plane not to make any gap. Side plate and mukiban (material of the depths of drawer) coordinated with plane in the same way are assembled in technique same as the chest body using wooden nails.

    Process 5: The painting

    Bare wood adjustment shitekarauzukuri (something like scrubbing brush which bundled up straw into a stick form. When we finish the surface of drill in wood, thing, we make use) kakeoshi, grain of wood. We do brush coating with dust and real mixture of demon several times on the top. After having naturally dried, we hang wax along grain of wood uniformly and finish. We need great technique for dust and real mixture of demon by perception and mastery of skills of craftsman. In addition, we are not used to an adult when brush messengers do not experience more than three years.

    Process 6: Metal fittings charge account

    Expression of paulownia chest greatly changes by design of metal fittings. We are attached to carefulness before handle metal fittings, hinge, lock by hand of expert craftsman, and chest is completed.


  • Close-up

    It is just Kamo Kiri Tansu with gentleness of cortex

    Expression of paulownia drawn by beautiful straight-grained board. We have dignified flavor in warmth of nature and add to the depth with time. Is just looking at paulownia chest, and want to straighten posture strangely; the reason why feel will be that Japanese heart is reminded of.


    Cityscape, Kamo-shi of chest

    Chest shops form a line if we walk cityscape of Kamo, and many places can see scenery of wood shop to be dotted with if we stretch out some feet. Originally the outskirts of Kamo-shi have abundant natural paulownias, and the history of paulownia chest begins in old days of 200 years. We still root in the ground of Kamo as local industry well. Texture that we made use of beautiful grain of wood of paulownia and warmth of cortex in is characteristic of Kamo Kiri Tansu.

    Paulownia chest which we served as beauty and utility and prepared

    Yoshiaki Tateno continues making paulownia chest in Kamo-shi, and it is approximately 50 years. It is person who has systems of Master of Traditional Crafts, and received the first authorization. It is wrapped in flavor of paulownia as soon as we entered the production spot of chest. Point primarily not to be able to hand over is raw material by the making of paulownia chest. Nature dries slowly and carefully for approximately three years and uses high quality paulownia. If "drying is insufficient, harshness (bitterness) remains and discolors red. We expose in the rain even if we say drying. Strong personality is not reflected if we do not hit water. Though it is half of the half of the weather water and place where we want to go, we do not readily live so either." Paulownia which dried nature discolors black by appearance, but immediately original white bare wood comes if we hang plane. Paulownia materials removed the astringent taste from after long time produce neither change of color nor confusion.
    Second handmade wonderful skill to finish carefully one by one. It is "finish" of the front in the last process that the skill of craftsman is required in particular. Thing, what "we rearrange to machine is impossible." because delicate power that this work that sharpens, and fixes appearance of chest was an expert of is necessary for hand plane. "Paulownia has aspect to be easy to be stained because it is soft. After all it is time of "finish" that is tense by work most; We delicately sharpen catch of drawer and door with plane and put into the body so that there is not gap. This high sealing characteristics are one of the features of paulownia chest. Because the paulownia wood absorbs moisture, we expand and protect clothing from moisture. In addition, we can reproduce color of paulownia beautiful anytime because new cortex appears if we sharpen some surfaces even if paulownia chest became old. And it takes part in this "laundry of chest" to use wooden nail which is one of the characteristics of Kamo Kiri Tansu. Even if "the surface is polluted with paulownia chest, we can sharpen every wooden nail with plane. We do not go so when we use illegible handwriting. Besides, illegible handwriting gets rusty and damages soft bare wood when we pull."

    Nature paulownia materials waiting to be dried, and to become chest. We see paulownia materials leaned outdoors in Kamo well

    Triple time to become full-fledged

    When it is about time when it passed after starting work for approximately four years to have become able to make chest satisfied with, Tateno says. Tateno after starting the making of paulownia chest becomes 20 years old since the age of the teens, and kana thing (tools) complete set is handed by company, and chest one comes to be left for the first time. Tool to use for the making of paulownia chest amounts to 20-30 kinds only with plane. As "it is hand processing, they cannot make the same chest, and the same chests are not possible. Anyway both condition and tree to use of plane vary according to days. You must make chest of high quality even if you say so. After all what's called perception of craftsman is necessary for it." Confidence and pride reach from Tateno who dealt with the making of high paulownia chest of technique characteristics for many years saying it is saying "we are full-fledged if sharpness of plane, prettiness of the finish, good efficiency, this triple time are equal." pressingly. When girl was born, we planted young plant of paulownia, and there were manners and customs to marry, and to make chest with the paulownia in old days on day to marry. There are a lot of people who purchase paulownia chest taking the opportunity of marriage in the present age when Westernization of lifestyle advances, and living environment of consumers changed. "We want you to live a happy life with chest which oneself dealt." with Tateno says that we produce chest while thinking so.

    Workshop of Tateno. Tools had a good use of for many years are easy and are put

    Will to chest does not fade

    We make paulownia board of material, and warmth of cortex which that dignity drifts after various processes to extremely take labor and time is brought about. It will not change from now on that that, paulownia that how about the times are materials most suitable for Japanese cabinet either. "We want many people to know alone what's called economy that paulownia chest has. And we want to actually touch and to feel good paulownia. Strong will of Tateno hanging for the making of paulownia chest seems to continue still more saying we want to deal with high thing of technique degree more successively even if 70 passes as for this work.

    Of drawer control the quality of chest whether go down, and condition is solid

    Craftsman profile

    Yoshiaki Tateno

    We are born in house of fisherman in Wakkanai-shi, Hokkaido in 1935. We are apprenticed to company Shingo Takahashi chest shop at the age of 17 years old and continue up to the present day.


    The change of metal fittings of paulownia chest

    Sanjo-shi located of Kamo to 6 kilos prospers for a long time as production center of hardware and continues up to the present day. This Sanjo-shi was city related to Kamo Kiri Tansu deeply before, too. Metal fittings used for Kamo Kiri Tansu were almost produced in Article 3 until about 1950.
    However, demand and amount of production of chest decreased sharply by Westernization of lifestyle after the 30s of the Showa era. With it, metal fittings supplier for paulownia chest was forced to change of job by production such as other tools, home hardware, too. Therefore nature and metal fittings supplier who was specialized in paulownia chest were gathered in big city and were produced only in Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto. This state continues even now, and, as for the ratio of metal fittings made in Sanjo-shi, there are none very highly.
    Shape of metal fittings changes with the times, too. Large iron metal fittings which expressed massivity over the Meiji era from last years of Edo era were used, but changed to thing which kept original paulownia materials alive as time was over. Downsizing and functionality came to be found on metal fittings.

    • Metal fittings worked precisely raise dignity of paulownia chest more



Industrial art object name Kamo Kiri Tansu
Phonetic symbol kamokiritansu
Classification of industrial art object Woodcraft, Bamboo Craftwork
Main product Chest
Main production area Niigata / Kamo-shi
The designation date December 15, 1976

Contact information

■local production associations

Kamo chest cooperative association
2-2-4, Saiwaicho, Kamo-shi, Niigata
The second floor of the Kamo-shi industry center
TEL: 0256-52-0445
FAX: 0256-52-0428

■Associated exhibit space, facility


Tree of drill is shiny white and is beauty that is refined, and is compared to silk. As we swept line of dark dark brown by brush in light colour of the ground, as for the straight-grained board (masame) of chest, there is beauty of grain of wood that other furniture does not have. There is not gap of drawer, and opening or closing is easy and protects things from moisture and heat and it lasts for long term and protects.

The wood of the paulownia tree used for Kamo kiri tansu have a beautiful white luster with the same sense of quiet refinement as silk. The straight, dark brown wood grain, which looks like it was painted by a brush upon the pale wood, creates an elegant feeling that cannot be found in any other wooden furniture. While the drawers open and close very easily, they form an incredible seal when closed, keeping clothes safe from humidity and heat thanks to the drawer’s great hermetic properties.

How to make

Raw wood is drying without sawing, lye and material which we lavished great care on for three years. We take plane and, Class board, are all handwork such as group of mind, assembling, coloring metal fittings. Expert technique to make using hand tools such as chisel, plane is worth seeing.

The preparation of the wood requires milling, removing the resin, and then drying for nearly three years. The entire assembly process of joining the wooden boards, planing, assembling the mortise and tenon joints, and attaching metalwork decorations is done entirely by hand. It is truly an impressive sight to see the artisans working with hand-tools such as chisels and planes to create a product of such beauty and refinement.

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