Japan’s profound woodworking culture dates back since ancient times and has been refined through the centuries, so much so that it is believed its people coexisted with trees. Most of the country’s buildings were made of wood, as were many furniture, tableware, and others.

Sashimono is a traditional Japanese craft that embodies the country’s wood culture. Cabinets, among other large pieces of furniture, are some of its products. However, a distinctive feature of Edo Sashimono, which flourished in the capital during the Edo period (1603-1867), is known for its wide range of small indoor goods that include everything, from oblong braziers to writing desks, dressers, and sewing boxes. “Though they appear to have a delicate structure at first glance, they are surprisingly firm and last for around 100 years. They’re not showy, but the woodgrains have a striking beauty, and there is ingenious skill hidden away in them. This may have resonated with Edo locals’ chic sensibilities,” said Yutaka Mogami, 68, the third-generation head of an Edo sashimono workshop in Tokyo’s Kuramae area. Sashimono is a technique in which wooden parts are affixed without using iron nails. Instead, projections and recesses are cut into the wood and interlocked to attach the pieces together.

The allure of the Edo sashimono is its extreme durability despite its delicate appearance. With an overall minimalist and polished nature, Sashimono’s tender elegance is kept together by undetectable joints.