[re:new tohoku] Tansu Kobo Hakoya

  1. Tansu Kobo Hakoya is run by Ryohei Kido, a maker of handcrafted treasure chests who has two types of picnic seats to show at the "re:new tohoku" event in London. Videos: [re:new tohoku] Tansu Kobo Hakoya

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  2. Ryohei Kido was drawn to Iwate by an interest in its folk traditions, and when he first arrived he was working as a journalist for a local newspaper. After a few years he came to believe that he would find life more fulfilling if he could work with wood. Although he became apprenticed to a prominent expert his master died shortly afterwards. Kido then enrolled at a technical institute to study woodwork, and was soon offered an opportunity to repair old chests (tansu). Most of his expertise was subsequently acquired through hands-on experience and trial and error. He is largely self-taught.

    When he speaks, eloquently and elegantly, about the expectations of a maritime trader placing an order for a ship’s chest (funadansu), it is tempting to hear parallels with Kido’s own voyage through life. A ship’s captain, he explains, would have been an incredibly demanding customer: a man of courage and ambition; a man of exceptional taste, honed by his trader’s eye. He was willing to take risks on life’s journey in a quest for personal fulfilment, and would demand a ship’s chest good enough not simply to hold essential documents and money but also his most prized and personal possessions, even his hopes and dreams.

    On life’s rough seas, Kido’s treasure chests are his own means to seek success as a discerning trader, crafted objects that are worth far more than the sum -- and the cost -- of their exceptionally beautiful parts. Kido is not just a creator but his own most demanding customer, chivvying himself ever closer to perfection. In one of his workshops is a large banner inscribed with a curt commandment: ""No shortcuts.""

    Kido handles every stage of making his treasure chests. He dries the wood, cuts it, works it and lacquers it himself. He also makes all of the hand tools required in his work, and all of the metal fittings on the chests. His workspace is a fascinating theme park of craft wonders, and yet the only person he shares it with is his wife, who makes such traditional items as straw sandals. As a master of his craft, shouldn’t he be thinking of training a successor? ""No,"" he says. “I taught myself. If anyone else wants to do this work, they can train themselves, just like I did!”

    The Easy Kneeler and the Broadbean are affordable jewels hidden among the prized possessions in Ryohei Kido’s treasure chest of craftsmanship.

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  3. The Easy Kneeler assists kneeling. You kneel down with one leg on either side of the support, and sit on the flat top. The seat takes the strain off the area around the knees, and enables you to stay in a kneeling position comfortably for a long time. The vertical support comes in various sizes, and the first-time user should try different supports in order to identify the most comfortable height.

    As a picnic seat, the Easy Kneeler is a great way to enjoy a meal outside, or to play a video game, while maintaining good posture. A prepolymer coating helps to protect the wood from dirt.

    The Broadbean, like the Easy Kneeler, is a seat that heightens the pleasure of sitting on the floor. Having your hips slightly raised makes all the difference. You can slouch if you want, but the Broadbean quietly urges you to sit properly.

    Like the Easy Kneeler, the Broadbean would make a great picnic seat -- and one version even has a secret compartment for sandwiches! (Originally intended as a place to stash a nestegg.) Broadbeans are lacquered, making them water resistant,within reason.

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[re:new tohoku] Tansu Kobo Hakoya

Adam Fulford Business

VIDEO CHANNEL GUIDE renewtohoku.org/videos
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a.fulford@japanesegreats.jp

Great products from areas in Japan that were hit hard by the 2011 disaster were featured at Asia House in London in July, 2012. We are eager to identify buyers,…


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VIDEO CHANNEL GUIDE renewtohoku.org/videos
CONTACT
a.fulford@japanesegreats.jp

Great products from areas in Japan that were hit hard by the 2011 disaster were featured at Asia House in London in July, 2012. We are eager to identify buyers, designers and other partners who can help us make these products successful in markets outside Japan.

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