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A small furniture company in rural Hokkaido was tasked with making the protective wooden cases used to store medals won by athletes at the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics. Each is a delicate work of craftsmanship, yet the craftspeople faced many challenges during the process and one-year postponement of the Games due to the pandemic.

Made of wood from locally sourced Japanese “tamo” ash trees, the circular cases are made by Yamagami Mokko, a company with only 19 employees in the town of Tsubetsu on Japan’s northernmost main island.

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