Boshu uchiwa fans are known as one of Japan’s top 3 uchiwa brands along with Kyoto uchiwa and Marukame uchiwa. In the Edo period (1603-1868), the production of uchiwa fans started in the Kanto area. Since Boshu (present Tachikawa and Minamiboso in Chiba Prefecture) was a producer of good quality bamboos, bamboos produced in this area were delivered to Edo at that time. It was in the Meiji period (1868-1912) that the production of uchiwa fans started in Boshu.
●Designated as a Traditional Craft of Japan in 2003
Techniques and developments
The distinctive features of Boshu uchiwa are the use of a round-shaped trunk of a thin bamboo for its handle called Maru-e and a beautiful lattice pattern made by thinly split bamboo. The upper part of a Madake bamboo trunk is split into 48-64 equal parts to make ribs. These ribs are then tied together with threads to make a lattice pattern frame that connects the handle, the lower part of the trunk. Lastly, washi paper or cloth is pasted onto the ribs.
Boshu uchiwa fans today
Before traditional patterns such as Bijin-ga and Ukiyo-e were usually used for Boshu Uchiwa, but nowadays a wide range of patterns including folk and contemporary arts are also used.