Odate Magewappa

Magewappa is one of Akita’s specialties that appears in Akita Ondo (folk songs). Developed and improved by Satake Nishike, the woodware reflects the beauty of Akita cedar’s grain and contributes to creating a bright and elegant atmosphere.
The technique of bending wood to produce vessels has a long history. In Akita Prefecture, containers and spoons produced using the magewappa technique have been found in a buried house from the Heian era in Oga and the ruins of Akita castle. These artifacts show that people traditionally used magewappa as household goods.
Odate Magewappa followed these traditional woodwares, but started to be manufactured industrially in the late 17th century. Odate castle’s Lord Satake Nishike supported the bentwood industry using the abundant Akita cedar in the region to help low-class warriors. Initially, they produced lunchboxes, grating utensils, and basket steamers. The products were shipped out to towns along the Japan Sea using the Yoneshiro River and to Nanbu (Iwate Prefecture) and Tsugaru (Aomori Prefecture) on the road.
Magewappa products utilize flexible and graceful-looking Akita cedar. They fit modern esthetics, and many products with excellent designs have been developed. Such goods are known overseas as well, and Odate Magewappa became Japan’s Nationally Designated Traditional Craft Product in 1980.