All About Japan

Odate Bentwood Lunchboxes

| Bento , Akita

Odate bentwood, or magewappa, is characteristic of the Odate region in northern Akita Prefecture. Wood is split into narrow boards that then are immersed in boiling water and bent multiple times before the board is pegged into shape and left to dry. Odate magewappa is very popular for lunch boxes and containers for rice or sake.

Shunji Kurimori is a well known master of Odate bentwood work, and the sixth generation proprietor of Kurikyu, which was established in 1874 in Odate City. Kurimori has received multiple awards for his works in Japan, and also exhibited in England, Australia, China and the U.S.

Kurikyu's bento lunch boxes have two levels that can be stacked on top of each other. Each level of the lunch box is open, without further compartments. The beautiful design emphasizes the simple elegance of the bentwood craft through the light color and natural grain of Japanese cedar. Dark cherry bark accents the ends where the magewappa sheets are bonded together.