In 1887, Okeei was founded by Shinemon Kawamata, an artisan of yui-oke (wooden tub or bound tub) in Fukagawa, Tokyo, a town which flourished as a port handling the distribution of lumber. Wooden tubs, or basins and rice keepers, were essential items for daily life in Japan at that time and the tubs made by Shinemon had a good reputation as they were well designed and well made which led to the Okeei name to be widely known. Since then, Okeei has faithfully maintained the traditional techniques being the only remaining yui-oke workshop in Tokyo.
One of the flagship products of the company is the Edo-style rice keeper using nickel silver. All the steps are done by hand using a 300 years old Sawara cypress from Kiso, Nagano Prefecture. Originally copper or bamboo were used as hoops to hold the wood in place. However, Okeei adopted the use of nickel silver which is often used for western tableware. The material is highly malleable and the beautiful gloss attracts the eye, resulting in a unique design.
Mr. Eifu Kawamata who is the fourth generation of Okeei, actively exhibits their works overseas, and they have fascinated many people in New York, Paris, Milan, Copenhagen and other cities. Recently, besides the traditional Edo-style yui-oke, he is also working on flower vases, tea ceremony products and art pieces. Keeping a tradition that has lasted hundreds of years while adopting an attitude of constantly challenging to create new styles is the most attractive aspect of the company.