Founded in 1875 by Master Kiyosuke Kaikado, Kaikado was established in Kyoto during a time of economic, political, and cultural expansion as Japan was emerging from a long isolationist period. Newly-opened trade exchange with the West brought foreign commodities and artistic inspiration to Japan. Tin, an English import, became a high-demand European commodity, and was used for the original tea caddies designed by Master Kiyosuke.
These early airtight tin caddies eventually replaced the then-common earthenware jars for their greater ability to preserve the scent and perfume of tea leaves, giving Kaikado a crucial position in the local market. This early development allowed the small workshop to become the main canister purveyor to the community of merchants, tea dealers, and private homeowners.
Following the War, Japan saw a period of economic growth and the advent of mass-produced, inexpensive tea caddies. In response to changes in the marketplace, Kaikado’s fourth generation, Master Souchi, explored new materials, introducing copper tea caddies. The fifth-generation, Master Seiji, introduced smaller canisters to a society that was becoming more and more mobile. Seiji also designed the first tea caddy made of brass. The sixth generation, Takahiro Yaji, has contributed the most to the expansion of his family's workshops by initiating international collaborations and special exhibition projects, and by introducing to the world his family’s cultural heritage and design legacy.
The iconic Kaikado Chazutsu (the standard Kaikado Tea Canister) involves a 130-step fabrication process. Its timeless design has made this signature product one that has never lost the appreciation of Kaikado’s now international clientele.
The Kaikado tea caddy develops a unique patina over time, specific to the component brass, tin, or copper materials. The canister grows value and appreciation as this sheen of oxidation continues to develop. A one-hundred-year-old tea caddy with opaque patina holds the soul and memories of a family; it is passed onto the next generation as a family heirloom. Regarded as beautifully crafted objects and efficient conservation containers, the Kaikado caddies are sought after as long-lasting family heirlooms and used to store a wide variety of cereals, grains, spices, tea or coffee. They continue to preserve the perfume and the flavor of goods in private homes, restaurant kitchens, and tea shops across the world.