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 Hakata Magemono 博多曲物

Ma-ge-mo-no refers to boxes and objects made by bending thin planks of cedar or cypress,

with sakura bark stitching at the joint.  

It carries 300 years of history, as serving wares in shrine rituals, and eventually evolved to become humble utilitarian wares including wooden bento boxes for the commoners

during the Edo and Meiji periods (16th to 19th century). 

Maker   .  Creator

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The Shrine

The Origin of Hakata Bent Wood Craft

Hakozaki is an old neighborhood in Fukuoka Japan, and it's name translates to the "Cape with a Box".  The area's most famous establishment is the Hakozaki Shrine, first built in 921 to commemorate the 15th Emperor Ojin deified as God Hachiman.  When Emperor Ojin was born, his mother Empress Jingu, placed his umbilical cord in a round wood box and buried it at the ground of Hakosaki, and ordered to plant a pine tree to mark the spot.  The pine tree has since been named as the Box Pine and it is still growing strong in front of the Shrine. (See the pine behind the red fence).

Hence the strong tie between Hakozaki district and bentwood boxes. 

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The Town

Maidashi & Bentwood Artisans

With its proximity to Hakozaki Shrine, Maidashi was a flourishing town where many Shrine officials and workers used to live.  Up until 1930s, the street leading to the Shrine was lined with over 20 family-run artisans' workshops making bent wood wares for the shrine and for common uses. 

In fact, the area bent-wood craft used to be called "Maidashi Magemono" 馬出曲物, named after the district. It is currently renamed as "Hakata Mage-mono" and listed as one of the Important Cultural Property for Hakata Fukuoka among other crafts. 

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The Shop

ShibataToku Shouten

Shibata-Toku (established 1850) is the only remaining magemono shops in the old district of Maidashi.  Few centuries ago, the bustling main street of Maidashi was lined with magemono bent-wood shops ran by 20 some families. Currently there are only 2 families left in Fukuoka producing Hakata magemono.