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80 years of devotion to making curved woodcrafts ”Magemonoshi (Circular Wood Craftsman) Chutaro Murachi”

80 years of devotion to making curved woodcrafts
”Magemonoshi (Circular Wood Craftsman) Chutaro Murachi”

DATA
Kijiya Chutaro Murachi
Kisocho, Kiso Gun, Nagano Prefecture

The skill of wood bending

Born in Kiso in 1917, Chutaro Murachi is now well into his 90s, but still active as a curved wooden box craftsman. He apprenticed with his father right after graduating from school, and for 80 years since then has been working as a professional in the field. The exquisite quality and beauty of his work was highly appraised, and he became the purveyor of the Imperial Household Agency. He has supplied a number of items such as tools used for official events of the imperial family and lunch boxes. He is truly the master of wooden crafts.

First, he tears fine Kiso hinoki wood with a hatchet to make a thin wooden base. After the wood is soaked in water for about 7 days, it is bent using hot water. The thickness of the wooden piece must be uniform, and bending requires preciseness. It is very delicate work. ”Magemonoshi (curved box craftsman)” is also referred to as ”Kijishi (woodturner)”, because they must be able to bring out the beauty of the wood grain.

Bringing out the beauty of woodgrain

Many of Mr.. Murachi’s work are made into lacquerware, as represented by Kiso Shunkei. In making lacquerware, ”Kijishi”wood tuner and ”Nurishi” (lacquerer) must combine their skills. Beautiful wood grain will bring out the best skills of the lacquerer. The performance of the ”Kijishi” has a huge influence on the quality of the final product.

Murachi told us, ”Wood tuners are just woodturners, nothing more. Our job is to create the base of the products.” 80 years as a wood professional, he fully understands the meaning and the importance of his job.
Still working hard every day to bring out the beauty of each piece of wood, Murachi looked very lively and youthful.

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