Mage-wappa boxes originated many years ago when woodcutters from this region made containers by bending straight-grained sheets of cedar for use as lunch boxes. At the beginning of the 17th century, the local feudal lord saw these containers and encouraged their production as a side business for lower-ranking members of the samurai class living in poverty. Thanks to the abundant timber resources of this region, mage-wappa became the local specialty. Using local Akita cedar, the main products manufactured nowadays are steamers and sieves. Trays with a lacquered interior are also made. Mage-wappa were designated a traditional craft in 1980.
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