New World Co., Ltd., and Masuda Kiribako Co., Ltd., which has been making traditional paulownia wood boxes, known in Japanese as 桐箱 kiribako, since 1929, have jointly planned a crowdfunding project on the Japanese crowdfunding platform Makuake.

The product, called "haco toy osero" is a line of wooden Othello boards that are both beautifully designed and sustainably developed, as they are made from recovered wood waste. Two kinds are available and they are currently listed for pre-ordering on Makuake until August 30th, 2021.

Product Lineup

Let's take a look at the two different types of Othello boards. Please note that the prices indicated below are the final retail prices. If you participate in their successful crowdfunding campaign which has already reached 275% of its goal at the time of writing, you'll be able to take advantage of more discounted prices.

haco toy osero square

  • Retail price: 9,900 JPY (tax included)
  • Box size: 278 mm (length) x 278 mm (width) x 34 mm (height)
  • Piece size: 30 mm (length) x 30 mm (width) x 10 mm (thickness)
  • Weight: 995 grams
  • Materials: Box: paulownia wood, lid: acrylic, frame: cypress and walnut
  • Finish: Beeswax

haco toy osero decoBoco

  • Retail price: 7,700 JPY (tax included)
  • Box size: 120 mm (length) x 240 mm (width) x 64 mm (height)
  • Piece size: 22 mm (length) x 22 mm (width) x 8 mm (thickness)
  • Weight: 460 grams
  • Materials: Box: paulownia wood and cedar, frame: cypress and walnut
  • Finish: Beeswax

The characteristics of the wood are as follows:

  • Paulownia: Light, soft, and warm.
  • Paulownia: Walnut: subdued but lustrous.
  • Hinoki (Japanese cypress): Fragrant enough to be used as an air freshener, with a soothing scent.
  • Cedar: A beautiful wood with a reddish grain. (Used for the concave part of the DecoBoco board)


For these wooden Othello boards, Masuda Kiribako wanted to recover scrap wood generated in their daily production process of making kiribako wood boxes, instead of burning them. Normally, small but sturdy pieces of wood (about 30mm) can be sourced from their scrap wood.

Two designs were born, "square" with its square frame and "DecoBoco" (a Japanese term for uneven surfaces comprised of raised and indented surfaces), both of which incorporate the manufacturing technology of paulownia wood boxes the company is famous for. Of the ten different chamfering techniques they use in their box making, three of them were applied to these Othello boards.

There is a magnet on the back of the lid so that you can stand it up and "display" it as a picture frame, thus allowing you to enjoy it as interior decoration when you are not playing with it!

The most distinctive feature of the "haco toy osero DecoBoco" is the checkered surface of the case. The protruding parts are made of paulownia wood, and the indented parts are made of cedar.

The pieces are octagonal, which is said to bring good luck. It's smaller and easier to hold than the square model. The case used to store the pieces is designed to be used as the game board, which is quite unusual for a game board that isn't flat. At first glance, it may look difficult to use, but you will be surprised to find that the pieces are easy to flip. Hopefully, you'll want to touch it and experience it for yourself.

Whether you're playing it with your kids or enjoying a good game over some snacks and drinks, this is a great item to have at home. With the ongoing pandemic, board games have been particularly popular.

The boards are also available in a set with Book House Nest, a bookend made of paulownia wood that leverages the natural wood's propensity to keep out moisture and deter moths. The bookends come in three sizes and can be used to store thin magazines or heavy books.

Why not take this opportunity to buy one of these beautiful Othello boards for yourself or as a gift?

To pre-order yours, visit their crowdfunding campaign page here.

By - grape Japan editorial staff.