NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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かるい Karui Karui Bamboo Basket

Jp En

Karui, made from woven bamboo, is a basket used to carry things on one’s back.  They have been used in the Miyazaki Prefecture to carry grains, mushrooms, manure and other things needed for farm work.
The bamboo used to make karui baskets is “madake bamboo”, which grows wild all over Japan. The bamboo used for the body of the basket is woven with six strands and the “masubushi” weave is applied to finish the edge.  Karui is a useful item made from all natural materials.
These baskets have an upside-down triangular pyramid shape which doesn’t allow the basket to sit on a flat surface easily. Although the baskets are unstable on level ground, they sit well on steep, mountainous hills.  The wisdom of this design was gained from living in deep mountainous regions.
Today, karui are used, not only as baskets for transporting things, but also as interior decorations such as vases, letter holders or newspaper racks.  They remain much loved by many people.
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かざぐるま Kazaguruma Kazaguruma (pinwheels)

Jp En

The area along the Tenryu River in Shizuoka Pref. had suffered from flood every year since the ancient times, and had a hard time in flood prevention works. A bamboo basket which contained a large stone was used to build a bank to prevent water. In the meantime, the craftsmen who made these baskets started to make a bamboo pinwheel for their children. A bamboo stick with a length of about 30 cm is split into strips with a width of 5 mm. Then the bark side of the strip is ripped off so that the strip has a thickness of about 0.4 mm. When the 4 of these thin strips are woven into a small basket, the 8 ends of the strips will come out of the basket. Finally the tip of the strips that stick out of the basket are spread in 8 directions, on which a square piece of washi paper is glued to make a bamboo pinwheel.
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なにわ竹工芸品 Naniwa-takekougei Naniwa Bamboo Crafts

Jp En

Naniwa bamboo craft is characterized by its beautiful combination of straight and curved lines of quality matake bamboo, which is over-woven many times. The craft was designated as a prefectural Traditional Craft Product. Currently it is produced mainly in the cities of Osaka, Tondabayashi, and Sakai, Osaka Pref. In the Nara period (701−794) there were a lot of high quality bamboos growing around this district and the local people began to make bamboo baskets for agricultural use. Later in the Edo period (1603−1867), when flower arrangement and tea ceremony were flourished, flower vessels and charcoal baskets began to be made. Thus by the middle of the Edo period a large producing area had been formed. A cut bamboo is split into strips with the equal thickness and width, which are called higo. Then higo are woven over and over to form the main part called do. Next, a cut rattan is also sprit into strips with the equal thickness and width to be used for the frame of a vessel. After the shape is formed, it is dyed in hot water twice, dried, and polished with a rotten stone. Finally urushi lacquer is applied and polished again to give it gloss. It this shine black finish that characterizes Naniwa bamboo craft works. At the present, items such as flower baskets, large food baskets, and other articles of daily use are produced.
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あけび蔓細工 Akebi-tsuruzaiku Akebia Vine Craft

Jp En

Akebia vine craft is a Traditional handicraft of Aomori Pref. The cordially knotted craft warms our heart. The making of this craftwork started in the late Edo period, when the local people began to make charcoal baskets and swagger baskets of locally obtained akebia-vine as souvenirs for spa visitors of Dake Hot Spring at the foot of Mt. Iwaki. In the Meiji period, it fascinated a lot of people through domestic and overseas exhibitions. Handwork of careful knotting gives this craft the simple but warm hue and feel which can be found in nature. At present geta (Japanese wooden footgear), shoulder bags, and ornaments are also made. Various items including daily articles are favored by the people who know the “real” things.
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津軽竹籠 Tsugaru-takekago Tsugaru Bamboo Baskets

Jp En

Tsugaru bamboo basket is a traditional handicraft of Aomori Pref. Its unique network is very impressive. This handwork has a history of about 200 years, but mass production of the baskets started only after this region established itself as a producing district of apples and a large quantity of baskets were needed for apple crops. The basket is made of durable Chinese zasa (Sasa kurilensis) obtained at the foot of Mt. Iwaki and Mt. Hakkoda in this region. Its network features the rustic appearance created by typically hexagon large meshes. At present not only apple baskets but also many other items such as baskets in a bowl shape or fruit baskets, which are favored as folk crafts. Its utility as daily goods and beauty as traditional handicraft are highly estimated and the craft was designated a prefectural Traditional Craft Product.
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