The Masu box has been in use for over 1300 years. The traditional sizes of the Masu box were regulated some 500 years ago and have not changed since.
There are three traditional units in Japan. They are called the Shaku, the Gou, and the Shou. The size of these units get bigger in this order.
~ 1 Gou or Ichigou , is 10 Shaku, at approximately 180ml.
~ 1 Shou is 10 Gou, which is about 1800ml or 1.8 liters.
~ 1 Shaku, or Isshaku, as said in Japanese, is roughly equivalent to 18ml.
Originally a measuring cup for foods such as rice and soy sauce, the Masu was used to measure rice when it was still used as a form of currency. For the Japanese people, the Masu was as valuable and important as the rice it contained, and this tradition remains crucial to the lives of the Japanese to this day.
More recently, the Masu has become widely acknowledged as a vessel for serving Sake, as well as a symbol of good luck. The term “Masu” translates to “growth” in Japanese, and is thus an icon of prosperity and great happiness.
The Masu box is an extremely versatile vessel. Besides from being a token of good luck, it has traditionally been used as a measuring cup and a sake vessel. Masu is also an ideal item for keeping accessories, holding a memo pad, or as a gift of celebration. Your imagination is the limit when it comes to inventing creative ways to use the Masu box.