"Mokumen" (Wood Wool / Excelsior) | Who Is Toda Shoko?
It is said that the origins of wood wool in Japan date back to the Meiji era (1868-1912), when timber suppliers in Okayama prefecture used wood wool shaved off with a Japanese tool called "kanna" as cushioning material when presenting fruits to the Emperor.
During the late 1960s, wood-wool suppliers were in constant demand as providers of gardening materials throughout the country. However, the wood-wood industry shrank when petroleum-based cushioning materials began to emerge in the late 1970s, and now it is a rare industry in which only a handful of companies exist in Japan.
Toda Shoko started 50 years ago as a wood wool business. The founder strongly believed in providing high-quality products made only from wood in Kochi prefecture and making products that meet the very needs of the customers. This belief is still present in Toda Shoko, and even today the company continues to manufacture one ton of wood wool every single day with its unique technology and Japanese machinery.
How Is Wood Wool Used?
Wood wool is mainly used as cushioning material when packing fruit; apart from mitigating shock, wood wool helps raising water retention, moisture retention and preventing erosion. Although inconspicuous, it plays an important role when it comes to preserving fruit, and provides the warmth and tenderness which would not be available from petroleum-based cushioning material. Wood wool is also used as cushioning material for sake bottles and pottery, core material of stuffed animals and for flower arrangement. Wrapping delicate fruits, pottery, etc with natural materials has long been done not only for its practical effects, but also to showcase the producers' kindness and affection towards their products.
Toda Shoko has gone beyond these conventional uses of wood wool, and has produced consumer products that take advantage of the various effects of natural wood, such as: relaxation effect, moisture diffusion and absorption effects, deodorant effects, and insect repellent effects.
- Pine: It has strong resilience and excellent cushioning properties. Because it has less fragrance and antioxidant effects, it can be the most suitable cushioning materials for fruits and fresh food.
- Cedar: Cedar is planted the most in Japan, and is one of the most familiar type of wood amongst the Japanese people. Its history is old, and has supported the lives of the Japanese people since the Jomon period (14,000 – 300 BC). It is well known to absorb pollutants and to work as a remarkable air purifier.
- Japanese cypress / Hinoki: It is well known to work as natural mothballs and to have a mildew-proof effect. It has a high sedative effect thanks to its fragrance.
- Camphor tree / Kusunoki: Camphor (Shounou) has long been famous as a raw material for producing insecticide and fungicide for clothing and dolls. People say the refreshing scent brings stability to the mind as well as alleviates symptoms of depression.