Excellent wood with dense wood grain and high durability, often used as a core for Japanese lacquerware.

A deciduous broadleaf tree in the genus Betula of the family Betulaceae with diffuse-porous wood.
The Japanese common name “mizume” (mizu means water in Japanese) comes from the watery, oily sap that seeps from the tree when the bark is damaged.
Other names in some areas are azusa or hansa, since this tree was used for making Azusa-yumi, or a sacred bow).
Though this tree can be commonly found, as the material this wood is rarely sold on the market since it is not mass produced. It is usually used locally for limited purposes, such as equipment and fuel wood.

Features

  • Beautiful, dense wood grain

    Used as a flooring material by taking advantage of the beautiful wood grain, as well as for daily wares, furniture, and wood carvings. It also has been traditionally used for the cores of Japanese lacquerware, and mizume is the highest grade material for lacquerware in every region.

    Uses
    • Flooring materials
    • Core of Japanese lacquerware
  • White, delicate, easily processible

    The wood is resistant to cracking, can be easily cut and thinly sliced, is less likely to be deformed or to have uneven surfaces, and is easy to process the core piece for Japanese lacquerware. It is one of the major materials for kokeshi dolls in the Tohoku and other regions. For yosegi-zaiku (a traditional Japanese parquetry) in Hakone, the wood is used for white colored parts, as well as for other colors by staining the wood.

    Uses
    • Trays
    • Bowls
    • Fancy goods
  • Hard and viscoelastic

    The hard and viscoelastic wood was once used for making bows. It was also often used for threshold sills since it is glossy and does not get worn out.

    Uses
    • Bows
    • Threshold sills
    • Machine materials