Generally, people start using a chest of drawers was end of Edo era to Meiji era. Until that time, people didn’t have any idea of having a furniture in Japan. People used only wicker trunks, furoshiki, closet. Not even there weren’t a room desk and a low table. Table and chest of drawers were from Western culture. Originally, Japanese people used Individual box containing personal tableware, when they eat meals.
Then the first chest of drawers should be mobile and portable like a individual box or wicker trunk in Japan.The lightness and size to be able to carry it by a woman was the standard. And the side of the chest got Toride, handle, metal fittings for carrying around. The metal fittings put on the both side of chest to through a stick from right and left for carrying it on shoulder. Also the key of a chest drawer is for protection when moving around as well.
Why they thought it’s the important that carrying around. At the time of fire and storm and flood damage, there is the reason to progress for every chest including an important kimono. There is the reason of that at the time of fire and storm and flood damage, it’s possible to bring a chest which includes an important kimono.
However, biggest reason is a custom of Japanese style living. The Japanese traditional house did not have a partition between bedroom and a living room, the clear separation of the rooms such as the European and American house. In other words, a living room becomes the bedroom and becomes the lounge and may eat meals there. The chest of drawers had to be light in such a case.
More about Japanese style living
History of Folding Screen
Japanese Traditional Paper
Superior Japanese Material, Tatami Mat
The Furoshiki’s Value is Reappraised
The Kakejiku is the Representative interior Decoration of Japan
Functional Furniture, Study Desk in Japan
The Family’s Buddhist Altar, Butsudan
The Art of Japanese Incense
image from:http://hanaha09.exblog.jp, http://boku1000nin.jp,http://item.rakuten.co.jp/gekiyasu-kagu, http://suumo.jp/