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Kasukabe Kiritansu: paulownia chest

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Kasukabe town, eastern Saitama prefecture, is a bed town of Tokyo and Saitama city, and is famous for the cartoon “Crayon Shin-chan”, a story of an ordinary family.

Some 400 years ago, it was a post town alongside Nikko Kaido (Highway) and a bed town for engineers and craftsmen who were hired to build Nikko Tosho-gu (Shinto shrine, celebrating Tokugawa Ieyasu).

After the project finished, some remained in Kasukabe and started to create good quality things such as joinery works exploiting the plenty of paulownia trees growing around there. This is the beginning of Kasukabe Kiritansu.

The chest is made of paulownia tree and metals, copper, iron, and copper alloy for joints and pulls. Since paulownia wood is much lighter than other wood, and it is much easier to carry Kiritansu and take out the drawers.

The natural characteristic of paulownia tree, swells and become high-density when humidity is high, and shrink and become normal under dry condition, makes the Kiritansu most appropriate to keep your precious clothes. For this disposition, Kiritansu can even tolerate to fire. If you splash water when a fire occurs, it can keep the inside unburned.

In Japan, there is a tradition that planting a paulownia tree when a girl baby is born and make a Kiritansu when she gets married to pray for her happiness.

Paulownia tree is, for the first place, known as very noble tree and is adopted to one of the crest of the Imperial family. In China, that mythological phoenix bird is said to love to rest on a paulownia tree. Kasukabe Kiritansu is inherited the tradition.

Kasukabe Kiritansu was designated as Traditional Craft by METI (Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry) in 1979.


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