Living with trees

Japan, the nation of trees:

70% of Japan’s lands consist of forests. However, Japan’s self sufficiency in wood is only around 30%, and the rest is dependent on imports. While Japan’s forest cover has been increasing over the years (mainly due to human led reforestation), the overall number of those who can maintain the forests are decreasing with the aging population; 40% of Japan’s forests are in need of maintenance. 

Cedar forest

The tree which the Japanese are most dependent on is cedar. We build houses with it, burn the surface for durable walls (sho-sugi method), for barrels to produce miso, soy sauce, sake. The nature of cedar trees allows for easy processing, has high breathability, and is antiseptic. This made it suitable for food storage in the age prior to the invention of refrigerators. Tsunekichi has been producing its boxes out of cedar, and for above reasons has been protecting this culture of using cedar as a raw, natural material and enhancing its characteristics. 

Just as Europe’s heritage has been supported by stone architecture, wood has been supporting Japanese culture through the architecture of castles and shrines; it has been a part of the Japanese people’s lives for ages. Some even say that providing children with wooden toys at a young age stabilizes their mental state. It is a natural part, and an origin of the Japanese life to soothed by the warmth of wood and its fragrance while taking care of it at the same time. We believe it is our responsibility to create products using local wood, to flourish the forest, and to pass it on to the next generation.