白木しらきについて天然杉へのこだわりAbout Shiraki (Plain Wood)

天然杉についてAbout Natural Cedar

柴田慶信商店は、天然杉の曲げわっぱを作っています。 かつて大館曲げわっぱは、天然秋田杉(樹齢約200~250年)を使用していました。しかし、天然の秋田杉は平成25年に伐採が禁止になりました。Shibata Yoshinobu Shoten uses Japanese natural cedar trees to make Odate Magewappa, simply also known as magewappa. Odate Magewappa had been made of natural Akita Cedar trees (about 200-250 years old) before. However, natural Akita Cedar trees have been prohibited from being cut down since 2013.


最高級の天然杉Highest quality natural cedar

そのため、柴田慶信商店は現在では、秋田の隣県である山形県、青森県、岩手県産の高樹齢の天然杉を仕入れています。もちろん入手できる場合には、風倒木や平成25年以前に伐採されたもの、製材所の整理品など、秋田県産の天然杉も材料になります。Consequently, Shibata Yoshinobu Shoten now buys in a stock of lumber of old natural cedar trees from neighboring prefectures, which are Yamagata Prefecture, Aomori Prefecture and Iwate Prefecture. Needless to say, we still use natural Akita Cedar trees if they are wind-fallen trees, trees that were cut down before 2013 and unwanted pieces of trees stocked in lumber-mills.


天然杉と秋田杉Natural cedar and Akita cedar.

時代が変化しても柴田慶信商店が天然杉にこだわり続けているのは、長く曲げわっぱが使われるために必要な材料だと考えているからです。Shibata Yoshinobu Shoten is particular about a natural cedar tree even though the time has changed. We believe it is the necessary material for magewappa to be used and loved for a long time.

天然杉は曲げやすく、割れや削げは少なく、木を曲げる加工などの製作に適しています。そして、強度にすぐれています。Natural cedar lumber is easily bent, but it is hardly cracked. Therefore, the type of trees is suitable for the products which need to be bent in the process of making, and it is excellent in strength.

夏目なつめ冬目ふゆめnatsume and fuyume

木目には、夏目と呼ばれる白い部分と、冬目と呼ばれる濃い部分の2種類があります。その名が意味するように、夏目は夏にぐんぐんと成長した部分であり、冬目は北国の短い日照時間の中でじっくりと育った部分です。濃い木目が狭い間隔で並ぶ北国の杉は、「目が詰まっている」と言えます。A Japanese cedar tree has two types of wood grains. The white one is called natsume (literally summer grain in Japanese), and another one, which is darker brown, is called fuyume (literally winter grain in Japanese). As the name suggests, natsume grows rapidly in summer, and fuyume grows slowly with shorter daylight hours in winter. Darker wood grains of a Japanese cedar tree grown in the northern province of Japan run parallel to a narrow interval.


夏目と冬目natsume and fuyume

冬目は木目が細かければ細かいほど、丈夫になります。夏目は水分を吸収するため、炊きたてのごはんを詰めると水分を程よく吸収し保つという調湿効果が発揮されます。The finer the grain of fuyume becomes, the stronger it becomes. Natsume of magewappa controls humidity when steaming rice is filled in it because natsume features absorbing water.

また、柴田慶信商店では、白木(無塗装)製品のお手入れに、束子たわしのご使用をお勧めしています。束子の研磨力に耐えうるように、強度にすぐれた天然杉を使うことはもちろん、それぞれの部材に厚みを持たせています。Shibata Yoshinobu Shoten recommends that you use tawashi (or a sponge) to wash magewappa made of shiraki (plain wood). We use natural cedars which are excellent in the strength, and we make each part of magewappa thick enough in order to be resistant to abrasive power.

そして、なんといっても天然杉の細かい柾目の美しさは、曲げわっぱには欠かせません。Furthermore, the beauty in fine straight grains of a natural cedar is the element of magewappa.


左が若い秋田杉、右が天然杉のおひつA young Akita cedar on the left and a natural cedar ohiitsu on the right.

写真におさめたおひつは、左が若い秋田杉、右が天然杉のものです。若い秋田杉のおひつは、肥料を与え成長を促した造林杉を使用しています。研究のために作られたものです。まだ若い秋田杉と天然杉を見比べると、木目の細かさの違いがはっきりと分かります。The left side of the photo shows an ohitsu made of a young Akita cedar, and the right side of the photo shows an ohitsu made of a natural cedar. The left one was made of a young Akita cedar grown in the artificial forest with a fertilizer, which was made for the purpose of study. Comparing the difference between the young Akita cedar and the natural cedar, we clearly understand the difference in fineness of the wood grains.

天然杉の強度と美しさ、自然の恵みが皆様の暮らしに末永く役立ち、日々を豊かにしてくれることを願い、私たちは日々曲げわっぱ作りに励んでいます。Good materials play an important role to bring a maker and a user together. While making magewappa every day, we wish our products with the strength and the beauty of a natural cedar will have been useful and enrich your daily life.

白木でなければならない理由柴田慶信商店 柴田慶信The Reason Why We Use Shiraki / Shibata Yoshinobu Shoten, Yoshinobu Shibata


名入りの白木小判弁当箱Shiraki wooden lunch box with a name

大館曲げわっぱが昭和55年に伝統工芸品に指定された当時は好調な売れ行きでしたが、昭和60年に入るとプラスチック製品の台頭と生活様式の変化により需要の低迷が続きました。Odate Magewappa was popular and sold well when it was nationally designated as a Japanese traditional craft in 1980. Yet, the weakening demand for magewappa had continued since 1985 as a result of the gain in power of plastic products and changes in people’s lifestyles.

なかなか売れない曲げわっぱを東京や大阪などへの販路拡大を目指すなかで新商品開発が盛んになり、曲げわっぱにウレタン樹脂塗装を施すようになりました。需要が伸びるにつれてあらゆる商品にウレタン塗装をするようになって天然杉の効能が活かされなくなりました。Absorbency, a fragrance and an antimicrobial effect that a natural cedar inherently possesses bring out the best taste of rice. However, makers of magewappa ignored the point and had continued to make magewappa which was stain-resistant, easy to care and washable with a sponge and a neutral detergent.

天然杉が本来持っている吸湿性、芳香、抗菌効果によってご飯の味を生かすということよりは、汚れず扱いやすくスポンジと中性洗剤で洗えるような曲げわっぱになっていきました。Absorbency, a fragrance and an antimicrobial effect that a natural cedar inherently possesses bring out the best taste of rice. However, makers of magewappa ignored the point and had continued to make magewappa which was stain-resistant, easy to care and washable with a sponge and a neutral detergent.

私自身もそのようなことに迷いを感じなかった頃、こどもの運動会に持参した、周りが羨むほど華やかな自慢の曲げわっぱに詰めたお弁当をいざ口に入れたらウレタン塗装の臭いで食べられませんでした。自分で作っておきながらこの日この時までその臭いに気付かなかったのです。I brought my gorgeous and brag magewappa lunch box to my child’s sports day when I did not hesitate about using such magewappa. However, I could not eat food in the lunch box because of the unpleasant smell of urethane resin on the lunch box. I had not noticed the unpleasant smell until the day even though I was the one who made the magewappa.

そこで改めて本来の白木の大切さを痛感し、ご飯を入れる器は「白木」でなければならないと肝に銘じました。This happening brought home to me the importance of shiraki, and I kept in mind that every magewappa containing food should be made of plain wood, shiraki.

白木の曲げわっぱはご飯の水分を程よく吸収し、冷めても美味しく、天然杉の香りが食欲をそそり杉の抗菌効果でご飯が傷みにくくご飯を詰めてから常温で一昼夜も痛まず持つほどです。Magewappa made of shiraki moderately controls humidity and makes rice delicious even if it gets cold. The fragrance of a natural cedar stimulates your appetite, and the antimicrobial effect of a natural cedar prevents rice from being spoiled for a day.

まずこのことを大切にし、素材と仕上げは曲げわっぱを使用する場面によって適材適所を常に考えながら、日々制作しております。We constantly consider the right materials for each way of use while we also consider the significant fact of shiraki.

暮らしの道具と付き合うために柴田慶信商店 柴田昌正To Be Used along with Other Living Tools / Shibata Yoshinobu Shoten, Yoshinobu Shibata

曲げわっぱは古くから人の暮らしとともにある道具です。では、その曲げわっぱを洗うときにはどのようにしていたのか。現在私たちが日常で使うようなスポンジ、中性洗剤はもちろんありません。使う道具は、束子と磨き砂クレンザーでした。Magewappa is a tool that has been with people’s lives since long ago. In the past, how did our ancestors wash magewappa? They of course did not have any sponges and detergents like we use now. Their tools to wash magewappa were tawashi (a Japanese traditional styled sponge) and polishing sand.

油を使ったおかずやケチャップ、ソースが、黒ずみの原因ではありません。木が元々持つタンニンと、ご飯のデンプン質の洗い残しが原因です。デンプン質は束子で洗い落とします。束子の細かく硬い繊維で黒ずみを削ることで、木を磨き、新しい木肌を出すお手入れの仕方が必要です。Magewappa gets darkish on its surface where rice is packed. Oily food, ketchup or any kinds of sauce are not the reason why it gets darkish. Tannin stored in the cedar and unwashed areas of rice starch on the surface of magewappa cause black stains. Tawashi is useful to completely wash rice starch away. The fine and tough fibers of tawashi remove black stains, and they polish the surface of magewappa.

そして「美味しい」かつ「汚れない」をお届け出来れば、この上なく良いことと存じております。 しかし、木に塗装をしてしまうと、「美味しい」は届けられなくなってしまいます。Our priority is that the users of our magewappa enjoy food in it. Additionally, we hope they are pleased about our magewappa that makes food delicious and is stain-resistant. If the surface of magewappa is painted or coated, you will not enjoy food in the magewappa because the key to keep food delicious is using natural materials.


つくし弁当箱と小判弁当箱2014 Photo: Tsukushi Bento Box and Koban Bento Box

「美味しい」が生まれるのは、天然素材の長所ゆえです。水分を程よく吸ってお米を美味しく保つ長所を生かすには、無塗装の杉板でなければなりません。素材の長所を大切にすることを一番に考え、私共は日々製作をしております。The cedar boards used for magewappa should not be painted and coated in order to effectively absorb the rice moisture and to keep it delicious. We consider the advantages of the material first when we make magewappa. For example, warping is a natural phenomenon for natural trees.

例えば反りは天然素材ゆえに見られる現象です。「木」が「反」ると書き、「板」と読みます。反ることは木にとって、ごく自然な変化です。天然素材のものを作るとき、使うとき、どうしても反りの発生は避けては通れません。しかしちょっとした工夫、一手間によって、道具は使いやすくなるものです。乾かす時に蓋の天板を水で濡らし、内側をよく乾かすようにしますと反りは軽減されます。As a board (板) in kanji consists of a tree (木) and warping (反), it is very natural for trees to warp and to change their shapes. It is not avoidable that the products made of the natural materials get warped when they are in the process of producing and are daily used by people. However, there is a little trick that the tool can be easier to use. When you dry a magewappa lunch box, please let the lid get wet with water initially, and dry the inside of the lunch box well. These steps will reduce the warp of the cedar.

お互いの特徴や癖を理解しながら、暮らしの道具として末永くお使いいただけますと幸いです。We hope you will understand each feature of our products and their materials to use as living tools for a long time.