Whether it’s croquet in the yard or chess at the dining table, games are a tradition that brings family and friends together. Japanese company Masuda Kiribako builds on that idea with a board game that not only encourages play, but also recycles materials in the production. 

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Pieces of a wooden board game set.

Called the haco toy reversi, it’s actually two separate games. The first is “haco toy reversi Square,” which features square pieces. When playtime is done, all the pieces fit into the game board, and the entire set can be mounted to the wall like art.

Related: ChopValue recycles 25 million chopsticks into furniture and decor

The second game is called “haco toy reversi DecoBoco.” It features a unique checkered board with ​​a bumpy surface. The purposefully designed board is eye-catching but also provides the perfect grooves for the octagonally shaped pieces. The octagon shape means good luck in Japanese culture. 

A hand picking up a wooden game piece.

The wood for both boards is recycled from leftover timber. The project aligns with Sustainability Development Goals by using recycled wood, and it also highlights a central Japanese cultural element of educating through wooden toys. 

A person playing a wooden board game.

Masuda Kiribako has been in business for 90 years, making paulownia wood boxes in a traditional design that harks back to the 10th century. The wood is popular for its ability to naturally repel insects and is widely used to store food and other objects. They are also made for museums to store national Japanese treasures like Hakata textiles, Hakata dolls, and ceramics. The scraps left over from making these boxes could be burned as waste, but the company decided to make use of it in a fun way instead. 

An overhead view of a person playing a wooden board game.

According to a press release from the company, “Masuda Kiribako uses many kinds of wood, not limited to paulownia, but also cedar, hinoki (Japanese Cypress), and walnut, which are used in producing the series of ‘haco toy reversi.’”

In a collaboration with Neworld, Masuda Kiribako will launch a crowdfunding project on Kickstarter in October.

+ Masuda Kiribako

Images via Masuda Kiribako