Cocokara inc.Manufacturer : Kishi kaguten (Kigokoro kobo)
Year of establishment
Type of industry
Furniture, woodworking products
2117 Kaneyama Mogami Yamagata Japan
Cocokara : Kyohei KAWASAKI, Kishi kagutenn : Kinichi Kishi
Person in charge
T E L
F A X
Main selling channels
https://cocokara-inc.jp/ In-house store
Located in Kaneyama Town, Yamagata Prefecture, our business specializes in the production of wood products made from Kaneyama sugi wood, a local specialty. My grandfather was a joiner, and my father worked in forestry, so woodworking was very familiar to me from early on. The family business was originally furniture retail, with my mother and older sister in charge of purchasing. After graduating from technical college, I worked on a dredging ship, then joined the family business when my sister got married. For a while I continued selling ready-made furniture, but after producing picture frames from Kaneyama sugi wood, a material unique to this location, I began producing all sorts of wooden products from beds to doors. One day the unwanted offcuts piled up in the workshop caught my eye. Their cut ends looked very attractive and too good to be thrown away. Trying to think of a good use for them, I finally completed a table by assembling the offcuts in a way that made a feature of their cross sections, which was my very first work of this kind. The table, which was prompted by my reluctance to waste wood, turned out to be a wonderful product. It was rich in character, gentle to the touch, and amply expressed the warmth of wood. This led to the current range of products including coasters, plates, and dishes. Produced by assembling cut ends, our original Kaneyama sugi cut-end parquetry plates are unparalleled in that they embody our "waste not" ethos, and convey the passion of their makers.
Kaneyama Town is in the northwestern part of Yamagata Prefecture. It is noted for its heavy snowfall and above all, its Kaneyama sugi trees, many over 100 years old. The scenic beauty created by the sugi forests has served as a model for landscape and townscape enhancement programs across the country. The local government very enthusiastically encourages scenic preservation and enhancement in this nature-rich town, resulting in multiple awards for well-preserved townscapes. Local landmarks include the Kaneyama model of a residential house, which employs white plastered walls for their capacity to age beautifully, and stone-built irrigation canals (referred to as ozeki) where nishikigoi carp are released. Kaneyama sugi trees were first planted in the Edo period (1603 to 1867) and over time became well-established and known nationwide. The town's fine sugi forests are among the largest and most spectacular in the country. Century-old Kaneyama sugi trees are characterized by their tight rings, fine grain, and uniquely gentle sugi fragrance—a result of growing slowly in a climate with long winters. As a highly committed member of the local community, our firm extensively uses Kaneyama sugi wood—the treasure of this town—to create wood products. Sometimes new product ideas come from consultations and conversations we have with local customers as well as holiday visitors. Conversations offer numerous new discoveries, which is why we value face-to-face dialogue and interactions. It is not unusual for us to receive custom furniture orders from the local government. We place great importance on using wood with minimum waste because Kaneyama sugi is a precious legacy resource developed by and inherited from the previous generations. Our quest for ways of reusing offcuts led to combining them to form one-of-a-kind patterns with endless variations. We want to offer an alternative to today's "throwaway culture" by making the most of any material. This desire led to the perfection of our richly varied wood products that have proved unique in the world. The zero-waste mindset, appreciation of and reluctance to waste the things we have, and gratefulness toward customers who delight in using our products motivate our work, day in and day out.