Enjoy the Rainy Season with "Wagasa"Craftsmen Making a Final Production Push22 May 2015 - Tradition/Culture
Craftsmen at "Hiyoshia," a shop & production studio for "wagasa," or a traditional Japanese umbrella located in Horikawahigashi-iru, Teranouchi-dori, Kamigyo Ward, Kyoto, is now making their final push in production prior to the rainy season. The demand for customized "wagasa" with individual names or family crests has recently increased, and various patterns are emerging on colorful base umbrella papers in the studio.
"Hiyoshiya" is the only studio in the city of Kyoto which makes "wagasa" systematically from composition to finishing. Orders for umbrellas begin to increase in late May every year, and approximately 1,200 umbrellas are produced annually, including "Nodate-gasa," a large-sized umbrella for open-air tea ceremony, and "Janome-gasa," a paper umbrella with a circled dot design. Repair requests from temples, shrines and festival conservation groups have also increased.
Umbrella frames are constructed by hand using bamboo and then covered with Washi paper. After oil is applied to make them water-proof, the umbrellas are dried in the sun. It takes one and half months to finish a large, roughly 3-meters-in-diameter umbrella. The studio is filled with umbrellas in many different sizes and colors, not only in classic purple or red, but also in modern green and orange. Daisuke Hirayama, an employee, said, "I want people to enjoy the rainy season by using traditional umbrellas."(translated by Galileo, Inc.)