Paulownia is known in Japanese as kiri (桐), specifically referring to P. tomentosa; it is also known as the "princess tree". It was once customary to plant a Paulownia tree when a baby girl was born, and then to make it into a dresser as a wedding present when she married.
Paulownia wood is very light, fine-grained, soft, and warp-resistant and is used for chests, boxes, and clogs (geta). It's low silica content reduces dulling of blades, making it a preferred wood for boxes to hold fine Japanese edge tools. The wood is burned to make charcoal for sketching and powder for fireworks, the bark is made into a dye, and the leaves are used in vermicide preparations. The silvery-grey wood is sliced into veneers for special visiting cards.
The kiri in Aizu-area are known as highest quality trees. Because cold winter and hot, humid summer weather make fine-grained trees.