Woodwork refers to furniture and vessels made from wood. While exact origins of woodcraft remain unknown, the production of small wood crafted items using wood from evergreen trees that are found naturally in Okinawa’s sub-tropical forests such as Ryukyu pine and Itajii (Castanopsis sieboldii) has steadily increased since the 1950s.
Woodworking techniques such as “hikimono”, the traditional approach to woodturning by applying a blade to shape wooden blocks on a potter’s wheel or lathe into bowls and rounded vessels, and Japanese joinery, which is the art of connecting wooden joints without the use of nails, have been applied to woodworking in Okinawa along with innovations in the application of color and lacquer onto wooden surfaces, leading to a wide variety of wooden crafts and objects being incorporated into the daily lives of people in Okinawa today.
|Ryukyu pine, chinaberry, mastwood
|Place of manufacture
|All regions of main island of Okinawa, Ishigaki City, Iriomote Island
|Bowls, pots, toys, accessories, small home items and furniture
|Source: "An Outline of Promotion Strategies for the Craft Industry"; "Tiwaza to Nukumori"
The production of wooden crafts is widely distributed across Okinawa Prefecture, with each craftsperson likely to own his or her own workshop. Since most products are handmade and one-of-a-kind, they are harder to be sold through existing distribution channels and are mainly sold at exhibitions held in and outside of the prefecture or through customized orders. Outside of the prefecture, Okinawa’s unique approach to woodwork is highly regarded and has gained stable popularity. Sought-after items include furniture such as chairs, children’s toys, houseware and small wooden accessories.