The tansu is a historic piece of Japanese furniture. Variations of the tansu have been made over time with designs being unique to specific regions as well as in their usage. After World War II, many of the craftsmen who had been making these chests began leaving this centuries old trade in order to make western style furniture and adopting more modern ways of working. I photographed the only remaining tansu maker in Sendai at the end of 2013. This shop, named Monmaya, has been in operation since 1872 and makes the legendary Sendai-style tansu as well as refinishing old pieces and producing other variations using mostly hand tools that have been made by the craftsmen themselves and wood that is native to the area.
©2016 Caleb Knipp