Fine rarewood cabinetry was brought to Japan by the envoys who visited Tang dynasty China, hence the name of these woods in Japanese is literally "woods of Tang" or karaki. During the Edo period (1600-1868) when foreign intrusions were mostly shunned, rarewoods come into the country via Nagasaki and they were distributed through a wholesaler of medicines in Osaka. Currently, the same rarewoods and traditional techniques are being used to make not only traditional articles but also ones consistent with today's life-style such as cabinets, tables and boxes. The lasting qualities and general acknowledgment which fine pieces of furniture and cabinetry made of such rarewoods as sandalwood and ebony command is unfailing.
The band of craftsmen skilled in working these woods is small, now numbering 170, with 21 nationally recognized Master Craftsmen among them. There are 43 firms situated in a number of areas making boxes, stands, desks and other finely crafted pieces of cabinetry.