Decorations with Japanese Woods and Kumiko-Zaiku


Kumiko is a traditional Japanese joinery technique which dates back to over 1000 years ago. Combining both beauty and functionality, Kumiko involves fitting together precisely cut pieces of thin woods to form delicate and complex patterns. It is the Japanese most technical skill in woodworks, requiring elaborate precision level of 0.01mm through processing to make tenons and groove holes in woods by Japanese style plane, chisel and saw. 

For kumiko, locally sourced Japanese conifer such as Sugi cedar or Hinoki cypress is generally used. The wood must be of the highest quality. Next, the wood will be cut to a workable size, and thin, even slats formed. These slats will then be cut and shaped with precision notches according to the intended motif. 

After the cutting parts was prepared, experienced artisans will put together the pieces, carefully and securely fitting each one into the others for a beautiful design without the use of nails. Please look at the production scene at the video


Kumiko design was created over 100 kinds by joiner in the Edo period. All kumiko motifs have auspicious meanings and express best wishes for lives and loved ones for protection, longevity, connections and prosperity.

Japanese style sliding doors with Kumiko was made from 100% Japanese Hinoki cypress. With different designs, it creates gorgeous atmosphere while feeling the scent of hinoki cypress. These Kumiko doors are harmonized with not only Tatami, but also wooden floorings. And also, there is a traditional Japanese style Tategu in the shoin style of traditional Japanese residential architecture.

Recently, Kumiko doors are getting popular in Japanese buildings. Kawashima Tategu has been creating quality custom woodwork specializing in Japanese wooden Tategu for over 80 years. Kawashima Tategu founded in 1933, located in Toyama, Japan and they are a 3rd generation company. They also produce high-end fine craft items made with ‘kumiko’.


The followings are examples of utilization, new challenging of Kumiko product. Left is entrance by the Kumiko art panels in the Ritz Carlton Hotel for140th anniversary of Grand Seiko. The right picture is the entrance of an institution in France.

Because of the captivating interplay of light and shadow from kumiko patterns, it is perfect for decorative panels, windows, and ceiling accents. Kawashima-tategu is now imagining new uses for this ancient craft through interior design products and tableware which suit both traditional and contemporary spaces. Kawashima-tategu also designed Kumiko products for Christmas!

Kumiko has lots of the possibilities for doors, windows and interior design etc. by utilizing Japanese woods and traditional techniques with experienced artisans. In addition to the examples above, there are many ways of using Kumiko products. Kumiko has various possibilities depending on how you use it.


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