History of Himitsu-Bako(Personal Secret Box)
Himitsu-Bako in Japanese means Secret Box. This secret box was first referred to in
a journal titled “Onsen Miage Hakone Sou” issued during 1830-1843. Onsen Miage
Hakone-Sou means “Hakone Hotspring Souvenirs”.
In this time period the Himitsu-Bako(secret box) was in its early stages.
It was referred to as a “Shikake-Bako” and “Chie-Bako” Shikake means device or trick
and “Chie” means idea, wisdom, or intelligence.
Shikake-Bako and Chie-Bako were kind of Ito-Bako(String box. a small box used to
contain strings, nails, sewing kits,etc.).
These string boxes were developed into small chest (Tansu) for use by workers
to carry their tools in and have their tools safe from theft. Because of the
Shikake(device or trick) no one could get into the box without first knowing the
secret. Workers to keep their tools safe used these chests on old coaches and ships.
The Ito-Bako (small box) was made with a very simple device/trick in the beginning.
As this box become more popular the device/trick became more complicated.
These boxes were soon referred to as a Shikake-Bako and Chie-Bako. Up to this point
in history these boxes were very simple with little or no decoration.
These boxes did not resemble the secret puzzle boxes of today. It was after 1870,
in the Meiji Period, that Mr.R.Ohkawa made an effort to develop a more complicated
secret box. This effort resulted with the integration of Yosegi-Zaiku and Shikake-Bako
making the first Himitsu-Bako. This originated and was developed in Hakone area of Japan.
Yosegi sort of elaborate wood mosaic work treasured in Japan since old days,
has been increasingly well reputed in foreign countries.
Making best use of natural fine grains and textures of wood makes the mosaic work.
Timbers of different colors are cut into oblong rods of desired sections.
(Spindle tree and ilex macropoda are used for white. aged Katsura-tree for black.
picrasma quassionides,mulberry and sumac for yellow, camhor tree and maackia for brown.
Amarican walnut tree for purple.Japanese cucumber tree for blue and chinese cedar for red,etc.)
The rods are then glued togther to from the section of geometrica pattern designed.
To add to glaze and sturdiness of the surface,finish coatings are applied.
As the surface is finished lacquer coating, it is rather free from stain. Just dust and polish
with soft and dry cloth.
Thank you for purchasing our Personal Secret Box. The box is intricately designed
and handmade by Japanese craftsmen. As with any work of art, the Personal Secret
Box must be handled with care. Please keep the following points in mind.
*Wood may expand or contract with changes in humidity. Avoid areas of high
humidity and high temperature. It is natural for movement of the wooden pieces to
be affected by environmental changes, therefore we cannot guarantee the future
functioning of the box.
*To clean, wipe the surface with a clean, dry cloth. Never use abrasive cleansers on it.
*Be careful not to drop or allow impact to your box.
*The Personal Secret Box is not edible. Never put it in your mouth.
*Do not force the box open. It may cause damage.