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History and manufacture of the traditional Japanese candle

Craftsman who makes the traditional Japanese candle

Warousoku (pronounced walôsokou) are the traditional Japanese candles made with wax from the seeds of the Suet Tree, which is the only ingredient in this 100% natural product. The technique of making this Japanese candle has been passed down from father to son for 200 years.
In his family, Master Tarou Oomori represents the sixth generation of craftsmen specializing in the making of traditional Japanese candles.  His workshop is located in Ehime Prefecture on Shikuko Island. Since the end of the Edo period, this region has prospered from the production of Japanese paper (Washi) and from the production of Japanese natural wax (Warou) extracted from the tallow tree. The techniques used in Master Oumori's workshop are inherited from this period, and the family continues to preserve the secrets of making these unique traditional candles, handmade one by one with great care. The manufacturing process is a testament to the craftsmen's skill and intuition, developed and refined over many years.

Manufacture of the traditional Japanese candle

Traditional Japanese candles are made from the wax contained in the fruits of the Suif tree (Nanking Haze in Japanese). They are heated with steam and then pressed to extract the wax.
The wick is made of Japanese paper and rush (igusa) wrapped together around a bamboo rod, and stopped by cotton.
The wax is then heated to between 40°C and 45°C to be melted. The bamboo stems covered by the wick are then dipped into the liquid wax and taken out, and the stems rolled on the edge of the container while the other hand shapes the wax to obtain a cylindrical shape. This step is repeated several times to increase the diameter of the spark plug.
The last soaking step is done at 50°C to give shine.
Gradually the colour of the candle changes and it is said that it resembles that of the Japanese bird Uguisu (Singerscarlet).
The candle is topped with a piece of metal heated by a wood fire, taking care not to cut the wick. Then the bamboo rod that was used as a support is removed.
Looking at the candle from above, you can see the successive layers of wax that remind you of the rings of a tree trunk.