The woodwork joinery technique combines tiny wood pieces to create delicate joints for wooden apparatuses. It is a quintessence of Japanese joinery with traditional techniques and modern sensitivities. Perfectly fit together with the highest degree of sophistication, the joinery of Akita has passed on the traditional cabinetworks to us.
The origin of Akita Joinery is not clear, but in the early years of the Meiji era (1868–1912), furniture-making and joinery were considered distinct fields of specialization, and many artisans specialized in joinery. Their techniques have been passed on to the present generation, with the use of natural Akita cedar. Many joinery products, such as wooden doors and paper sliding doors, are produced in many parts of the prefecture.
Among all kinds of joinery in Akita, woodwork joinery (kumiko tategu) has a high reputation across the country. Thousands of small lace-like pieces of Akita cedar are set together to create geometric patterns. The woodwork joinery is made with rhombus, angular, and curved pieces without a single nail. The Hon-Nejiri joinery, in particular, requires advanced techniques to combine wood pieces as if they are bamboo textiles.
Nekoma Shoji (cat-entrance paper sliders), Yukimi Shoji (snow-view paper sliders), Shoin Shoji (writing studio paper slides), or Ranma (decorative transom above paper sliding doors) are some of the traditional items made with wooden joinery. More recently, coasters, candy boxes, and other items for daily use, have also been produced.