Hakone Yosegi Zaiku is a special woodworking technique that had first created by Jinbei Ishikawa who had been living in Hakone in Japan in the late Edo era.
This Hakone Yosegi Zaiku is designated as a Japanese traditional handcraft by minister of international trade and industry.
The reason this Hakone Yosegi Zaiku was created there in Hakone is Hakone was blessed with woods and there were a lot of villagers that make their living by making a chest of drawers and box, etc.
The craftsmen who were gathered from all over the country engaged in building Odawara castle in those days settled in Hakone after the completion of the castle.
And Hakone was a bustling post-town with many travelers connecting Odawara in those days.
So the items of Hakone Yosegi Zaiku were sold to those travelers as specialty of Hakone.
The greatest features of it is its unique geometric pattern and special woodworking technique.
The color of it is natural color of the woods that grew in Hakone.
And all the unique geometric patterns on the box are traditional Japanese patterns such as ichimatsu (checks), yabane (fletched arrow), shima (stripes), asanoha (hemp leaf), masu (square checks),etc.
Make the best of woods and its color, these traditional Japanese patterns are made.
Types of Wood used for making
Beautiful colors of Hakone Yosegi Zaiku is not by coloring but by natural or original color of the woods have.
You might feel spirit of Japanese, make the best of its original color instead of adding something.
This is how Hakone Yosegi Zaiku is made.
The woods used in the work is Ilex Macropoda(Aohada), Dogwood(Mizuki), Japanese Spindle Tree(Mayumi), Picrasma Wood(Nigaki), Japanese Lacquer Tree(Urushi), Japanese Pagoda Tree(Enjyu), Camphor Tree(Kusu), Zelkova Tree(Keyaki), Japanese White-bark Magnolia(Honoki), Aged Katsura Tree (Katsura Jindai), Aged Zelkova Tree(Keyaki Jindai), Japanese Judas Tree(Kurogaki)
Special Technique Muku and Zuku
Special woodworking techniques used for making process of this Hakone Yosegi Zaiku are Zuku bonding and Muku making.
Zuku bonding is the technique shaving patterns thinly with a special plane and pasted on the items such as box.
Muku making is combining technique that processes the thick pattern plate without nail, adhesive, etc.
Popular Souvenir Puzzled Box or Trick box
It is said to have been around 1830 that original trick box of Hakone Yosegi Zaiku was first made.
You need to push, pull, slide, etc for opening the box.
There is correct order for opening that you need to use your brain to open it.
There are various types of trick box from simple 3 or 4 steps to more than 30 steps to open it.
It must be great moment when you could open the box of more than 30 steps.
There might be people that use this trick box as a secret box by keeping things such as jewelry inside.
Now this is getting popular as a unique gift from Japan.
Followings are some of the Trick boxes of Hakone Yosegi Zaiku in eBay.
I can also buy and ship it for you without making any profit for this item if you want (Although only the item price and shipping price I can not cover), so let me know in that case!
Hakone is also famous as a set of Evangelion or Eva
Hakone is also famous among fans of Evangelion or Eva as it is the set of Evangelion.
You must be impressed with the exact scene that you could see in anime.
There is even Evangelion Shop called Evaya in Hakoneyumoto.
Here you can buy various limited Evangelion goods only here in Hakone such as towel, Japanese Tenugui towel, note, key holder, clear file, sweets, snack, etc.