Oke (a wooden bucket) ()

Oke is a kind of container.

The wooden oke and plastic oke are the most common.

On the distinction between taru (barrel) and oke

Japanese taru and oke have very similar forms, but as a material the board of plain-sawn timber is used for the trunk of taru. On the other hand, in the case of oke which is the container for liquid such as furo oke (bath tub) and so on, the quarter-sawn timber is used for the purpose of preventing the leak. However, they are often used confusingly in daily life.

Some say that the one with a lid is called 'taru' and the one without a lid 'oke.'
There are many exceptions, but the lid of sakadaru (wine cask or barrel) is constantly closed for preservation and in the case of furo oke the lid is usually opened when taking a bath.

History of oke

In Japan, oke made from wood was invented as a container instead of bottle, ceramic ware, lacquer ware and so on and popularized during the Heian period. It was also called 'magemono' (wooden bucket), in which thin boards were circularly bended and bonded. At first, it is said to have been used as a tansu (笥; chest of drawers) for storing hemp (麻) yarn and the ancient spelling '麻笥' and '麻の笥' (oke, bucket) exist.

The oke produced by the influence of the one imported from China is called yuioke (wooden bucket with a bottom), which is a present-day wooden oke. It has the structure where elongated boards are circularly lined up and tied with 'taga' (hoop) which consists of spirally bundled bamboo, and does not use the adhesive. Each home in the Edo period always had it. The oke greatly influenced the preservation and transportation of food products and so on during the Edo period.

In modern Japan, the case to use oke for the purpose of transportation or preservation has decreased and instead furo oke (bath tub) or yuoke (bucket for hot water; also called senmenki (wash basin) depending on the purposes) are used in a daily life. Kerorin oke (plastic bucket with advertisement of medicine, Kerorin inner aspect of the bottom) is famous and is put in a public bath also as an advertising medium.

Also, as a musical instrument, a yuoke made from hinoki (Japanese cypress) is used as a kind of percussion instrument that is incorporated in percussion sets; this is done by turning the yuoke upside down and attaching sticks or other suitable objects to its base to act as supports. The playing style is that they sound it by beating the back bottom with drumsticks like a drumming style. It is known that Koji ISHIKAWA in Tama (band) drummed it.

Idiomatic usage

Taga goes slack (the power or ability are weakened, or the discipline is loosened).

If the wind blows the bucket makers prosper (any event can bring about an effect in an unexpected way).

[Original Japanese]