Updated: May/27/2014

Culture(文化) Food(食)

Traditional Paper Fan (Boshu-Uchiwa) making with skilled craftsman

Hot summer is around the corner! Are you ready for it? Well this is the best event for anyone who is not ready to give up this cool weather or for those who want to survive the inevitable heat on its way. This is a unique opportunity to make a Boshu Uchiwa (paper fan) yourself, a craft that has been certified as an important traditional craft by the Japanese government. During the workshop you can choose from over fifty original designs and make your own 'Uchiwa' for your family or friend... or keep it all to yourself.

Our location for this trip, Tateyama City, was called Boshu in the Edo era and was the main bamboo producing area; with paper fans then being produced from the beginning of the Meiji era. After The Great Kanto Earthquake which struck and killed more than 100,000 people in 1923, most paper fan wholesale dealers moved to Tateyama city eventually making it one of three biggest paper fan industries in Japan. However production declined steeply from 8,000,000 units in the 1930s to only 300,000 now because of the insurgence of electric fans and air conditioners. As a result, now paper fans are mostly only just given as gifts or as decoration/ornament rather than a practical item which explains why the "Uchiwa" was recognized as an important traditional craft by the government, with the aim of protecting the authentic, craft skills and help add new appeal to the tradition.

Boshu-Uchiwa is made of high quality bamboo source from right in Tateyama City. The best season for bamboo is during the colder months from October to January because the inside of bamboo gets denser and insects stay away. So fan production starts in the winter and finishes at the end of spring using 21 handmade processes. Mainly: Remove bark - Wash - Cut - Shape - Flatten - Apply paper - Trim edges - enjoy the breeze!

We will visit Uyama factory which is one of only five remaining factories. The owner, Mr. Masao Uyama, who is a government certified, traditional craftsman, makes the uchiwa from scratch, whereas the current trend is to source the individual parts and assemble them. Not only does protect the traditional culture and skills of uchiwa making, but he also tries to innovate using new materials or designs. As he typically makes only five to ten of any one particular design, over a hundred uchiwa resigns are produced every year.

We will have the opportunity to see them all and even make your own as a souvenir, after hearing from Mr. Uyama himself about the tradition of Boshu Uchiwa making this time. After that we will have lunch at local 100-year-old historical Sushi restaurant. Local sushi in this area is different from the sushi we eat in Tokyo. Fish is flesh and about three times size!! Anybody may be surprised!







Event Details

Date Jun/01/2014 - Jun/01/2014
Place Tateyama city, Chiba Prefecture
Meeting place Chiba station, bus terminal No.21
千葉駅 高速バス21番乗り場
Meeting time 8:10 AM
Price 5,000 yen
Note -One more activity like meeting local farmer or going to the beach will be planed and announced in a few days.
-The price above includes uchiwa material cost, teaching fee and one more activity. (The price may change a bit depending on the added activity.)
-The express bus from Chiba station to Tateyama station is 1,500 yen.
-Please make payment on the event day this time.



Allan Wooding

Trinidad and Tobago


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