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Karakuri Creation

Coporate Profille

Karakuri Creation was established in 2005 and is the producer of “Karakuri boxes”. Karakuri boxes are original products audaciously modified and reshaped from its original traditional product- himitsubako (secret box). Himitsubako is a kind of magical box that takes on all kinds of shapes and sizes, such as coffee cups, bombs, cakes etc. These boxes are locked in such a way that you have to follow a certain set of procedures to be able to open them.

Karakuri Creation was also part of the organizing committee of the “Society of Karakuri Creation”, established under the authority of Odawara-shi in 1999 by gathering himistsubako and trick boxes’ craftsmen. 40 new products are released every year and sales are carried out on the Internet.


Hakone is a very popular tourist destination for onsen trips since the end of Edo period.
People could visit Hakone without having to cross the barriers. The popularity of the tourist destinations has helped boosting souvenirs market. Souvenirs made from wooden craft, such as yosegi zaiku (wooden complex mosaic) and himitsubako, were developed in the early stages of Meiji era. From an industry that uses wood from the local grounds, it grew bigger with greater specialization, before becoming an extraordinary production ground of karakuri in the world. Since then, besides the conventional himitsubako, tobacco trick boxes and other unique products have been created.


Surprisingly, I was born in Osaka, not in Odawara. I was studying at the University of Kyoto during the midst of the university riots. Back then I had an internal struggle about what to do with my life. Then I decided to take the path of a craftsman instead of an ordinary salary man. This decision was made because I wanted to leave my own marks in this world. I was attracted to kumiki (a kind of butcher block) when I first saw it on a magazine. I quit university and took the position of disciple of Yamanaka Kumiki Workshop in Odawara. During the period of the research and development of new products, I got inspired by himitsubako and came up with the idea of karakuribako.


Himitsubako can be unlocked and opened only by following the correct set of procedures. New designs have been created using the techniques of complex mosaic. Karakuribako is rather similar to himitsubako but has a wider range of ways to operate it. To open a karakuribako in the shape of a coffee cup for example, one has to think of how one holds the cup when drinking coffee. On the other hand, for a karakuribako in the shape of a bomb, one has to imagine how it would be if one were to hold a lit bomb in one’s hands. This is the key to open a karakuribako.

Our company used to produce expensive goods targeted at foreign customers and collectors. However in one exhibition held in Nagoya Science Centre in 1993, the reasonably priced himitsubako were also extremely popular among the children. This inspired the company to produce more economical products. Events were organized among the citizens to gather new ideas for karakuribako. Our company also organized “Karakuri Puzzle Festival” during the spring vacation, where workshops were organized for children to learn how to make karakuribako. Through this approach we wish to establish our brand image in the younger generation and build our future customer demographics.

Karakuri Creation


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