A woodworking craftsman from Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture has turned to creating music boxes in the shape of cakes as a means to encourage and soothe the victims of the March 2011 disasters. 58-year old Satoshi Kumano described his music boxes, saying that, “while bringing out the possibilities of wood (as a crafting medium), I want to make things that make people happy.”
His passion for music boxes began 30 years ago after a visit to Germany. He always makes sure that he uses wood that has grown naturally when making the devices and is very particular with the type of tree, thickness and dryness of the wood since it has an over-all impact on the sound that the music box would produce. Being born into a family of dressmakers, his creativity, knowledge and skills derived from making dresses have contributed a lot to his craft of making music boxes. His desire of making cake-shaped music boxes started after the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, where at least one of his employee’s family members went missing and the damage done to his studio forced him to abandon crafting for three months. He thought of making music boxes in the shape of cakes to help lighten people’s mood during those tough times.
The cake-shaped music boxes were made using differently colored wood layered on top of each other and the icing with a paste made of wood chips. The wood’s natural colors add to the design of the cake, as Kumano doesn’t use any paint on his music boxes, which range from 6 to 15 centimeters in diameter. Music is played when the strawberry and cherries on top are pulled. The boxes range from 5,250 to 15,750 yen (about US$50 to $150), and customers have often remarked that Kumano’s creations look like the real thing.