It took enormous amounts of time and effort to develop and manufacture
these chests. Teruaki Nakashima, the inventor of karakuri tansu, liked playing with machines and thinking
up new mechanical devices even as a child. It is said that he was influenced
by Hisashige Tanaka, the founder of the Tanaka factory which later became
Toshiba Corporation. Nakashima began studying karakuri and drawing his
own sketches. By devoting his profound knowledge to karakuri, he invented
many new tricks.
Karakuri tansu resulted from the fusion of Nakashima's profound knowledge of karakuri, the magnificent furniture production legacy of Fukuoka Prefecture, and
the funa-tansu - a chest for keeping valuables on board ship, which was a crystallization
of Edo-Period knowledge and craft.
Nakashima created the karakuri tansu based on an adaptation of the funa-tansu. Needless to say, it wasn't easy, because most of the precise and delicate operation had to be done by hand.
Now we can experience traditional craftsmanship just as it used to be,
with karakuri tansu. It uses a classic technique of timbering, tsutsumi-ari (a sturdy method that joins the side board of drawers to the front) and
a stunning processing method (repeating polish, coating and drying) which
takes advantage of the beautiful wooden texture. As for the exterior, it
has metal fittings with exquisite decorations which contribute to a strong
structure, and the smooth and elegant texture of zelkova trees can be seen
on the surface. The interior uses paulownia wood, an excellent choice.
Finally, it includes a high security system and playful touches, making it ideal for practical use. Since the chest
is all handmade, it takes two months to complete construction.
A great fusion of culture, knowledge, and traditional techniques occurred to bring us the karakuri tansu we have today. Their tasteful style and elegance captivates people all over the world. From all over Asia to Germany, the Netherlands and Russia, karakuri tansu are highly regarded for security, and appreciated for their beauty.