Odate bentwood is believed to have begun when ancient woodsmen made bentwood containers from cedar wood. In the latter half of the 17th century, the lord of Odate Castle, after seeing the poverty being suffered by his people, encouraged them to make bentwood crafts, making use of the abundant cedars in the area. The craft also developed as a side job for low-ranking samurai, and their techniques have been passed down through generations to this day.
Odate bentwood is made by planing Akita cedar wood into thin strips and softening it in hot water, before bending it to shape. Joint ends are stitched together, while the base is attached with glue. Odate bentwood is known for its light weight, its beautiful wood grains, its woody scent, and its ability to absorb moisture.
Besides the common bento boxes, Odate bentwood products include coffee cups, sake cups, ornamental lighting, and other items created by expert craftsmen.
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