Matsumoto Kagu developed from one of the trades set up around the time that Matsumoto in present-day Nagano Prefecture became a castle town in the latter half of the 16th century. It was not until the end of the Edo period (1600-1868), however, that the production of household furniture actually began.
According to an old document found in Nagiso, turnery began here sometime during the first half of the 18th century, when unfinished forms for trays and bowls were being sent to Nagoya and Osaka. For this to happen, it must be assumed that lathes were first turning sometime before.
Suruga Bamboo Ware
Suruga Takesensuji Zaiku dates back to the beginning of the Edo period (1600-1868) when warriors almost exclusively made bamboo goods as a side job in more peaceful times. In the 19th century, the feudal lord in Okazaki, who was skilled in the art of bamboo weaving, passed on his techniques to Shimizu Inobei. Using these techniques, he made candy bowls and insect cages to sell to travelers on the Tokaido, the main road between Kyoto and Edo.
When the highly skilled carpenters of Inami were rebuilding the main worship hall at Zuizenji temple after it had been destroyed by a fire in the middle of the 18th century, some woodcarvers with official patronage were dispatched from Kyoto to help with the work and it is thought that the carving techniques they passed on to the local carpenters marked the beginnings of woodcarving here.
Ichii Itto Bori developed from small beginnings, when a woodcarver named Matsuda Sukenaga used a yew felled from the Hida mountains to make some rather special netsuke that were left uncolored and simply took full advantage of the beautiful grain of this wood. Since then, this craft has always been representative of the woodcarving done in the Hida region.
Nagoya Paulownia Chests
It seems likely that the making of this distinctive style of paulownia chest was begun in Nagoya by craftsmen who, having been involved in the building of Nagoya castle some 400 years ago, settled there and began making chest of drawers and chests.
Production began in the late Edo period. Zelkova, pawlonia, and other wood is processed using a unique joinery method, then covered in lacquer, and ornamented with metal fittings to create stately products.
Although this craft dates back to the Heian period (794-1185), specialist cabinet makers did not appear until during the Muromachi period (1392-1573), when this form of joinery developed in step with the ceremonial drinking of tea. Beside a range of the finest traditional household furniture made in solid wood, many pieces of turnery, bentwood work and items made from boards are also fashioned from such woods as paulownia (Paulownia tomentosa), Japanese cedar (Cryptomeria japonica), mulberry (Morus) and zelkova (Zelkova serrata).
The origins of this craft date back to the beginning of the 17th century and the traditional woodworking skills that can be seen at Osaka's Hijiri Shrine and Shiteno-ji temple. Gradually during the 18th century, transoms were mainly introduced into merchant's houses not only for practical reasons of ventilation and lighting but also as a decorative element capable of raising the quality of interior space, especially in rooms where guest would be received.
Osaka Fine Cabinetry
Fine rarewood cabinetry was brought to Japan by the envoys who visited Tang dynasty China, hence the name of these woods in Japanese is literally ""woods of Tang"" or karaki. During the Edo period (1600-1868) when foreign intrusions were mostly shunned, rarewoods come into the country via Nagasaki and they were distributed through a wholesaler of medicines in Osaka.
Osaka Senshu Paulownia Chests
Sometime during the 18th century, farmers started making boxes and other simple pieces of cabinetry during slack times of the year, using locally obtained paulownia (Paulownia Sieb. et Zucc.) and cork-tree (Phellodendron Rupr.). This ""cottage industry"" grew in stature by leaps and bounds after the middle of the 19th century and is still thriving.
Osaka Kongo Bamboo Blinds
The making of bamboo blinds goes right back to before the Heian period (794-1185). Blinds of this kind were first used as a screen inside the Imperial palace and the residences of noblemen, and became the model for blinds which are still used in traditional reception rooms today.