I work at Niigata University of Management in Kamo City, a neighboring city of Sanjo City. Kamo’s artisans are famous for being the number one producers of chests of drawers made of paulownia wood.
Japanese people used to say, “When you have a baby girl, you should plant a paulownia tree in your garden. Then a furniture maker can produce a kiri dansu out of the tree.” Nowadays, though, it is so expensive to buy one that few people can afford to carry on the tradition.
Last week my students and I visited one of the largest and most distinguished paulownia wood furniture and craft companies in Kamo, Ishimoku Co. Ltd. http://www.ishimoku.co.jp/
We met the president, Yohsuke Ishiyama, who kindly explained to us about the characteristics of paulownia.
It feels warm when you sit on it. Also, I enjoy using a paulownia mouse pad in my office and a chopping board in my kitchen.
Mr. Ishiyama, however, stressed his concept of the “forgiving” nature of the wood. He said the combination of its soft resiliency and the rounded corners crafted by his master woodworkers create a safe environment for children and the elderly.