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With coolness felt by all 5 senses & Edo style. Edo Wind Chimes, Edo Fans

Craft , Culture2016.08.01

Edogawa-ku, the most eastern of Tokyo's 23 wards, is a "town of water" which has large rivers and faces Tokyo Bay. Every August lots of people gather here to watch a fireworks display along the banks of the Edo River. In this area of Edogawa, which has such a strong summer image, there are traditional crafts that have been passed down since ancient times. These are wind chimes finely devised so that you may be able to spend the humid Japanese summer just a little more coolly, and Edo fans that bring a refreshing breeze and have a beautiful form that weaves together a simple, stylish picture, straight lines and curvy lines. Both feel cool to the 5 senses and are indispensable items for the summer that retain Edo style while appealing to modern sensibilities.

A summer tradition that brings Edo culture to the present day.
Light, cool sounding "Edo Wind Chimes"

The origin of wind chimes comes from the bronze "futaku" hung in the four corners of Buddhist temples etc. that were said to ward off ill will. After this time, glass making spread to Japan from Europe and, from around the year 1800, wind chimes made of glass became popular among ordinary folk. Faithfully passing on this tradition to the current day is Shinohara Furin Honpo, led by Yoshiharu Shinohara who, even after passing the age of 90, continues to actively make wind chimes. Edo Wind Chimes are designated as an Intangible Cultural Property of Edogawa-ku. Their features include being inflated in the air, without using a mold called a "chubuki", and a picture which is painted on the inner side.

First of all, a glass plate heated to over 1300ºC inside a kiln is wound around a thin glass tube called a "tomozao" which is then held in one's mouth and pointed upward. Then, a small ball called a "kuchidama" is created by gently blowing into it. At this point, glass from the kiln is once again wound around the tube, and this time it is strongly blown into to immediately create the main portion of the wind chime. Once the heat has dispersed, the tomozao is quickly removed and then the opening portion is cut to be jagged using a grindstone. The characteristic sound of Edo Wind Chimes is created through this jaggedness and the thickness of the glass. So that it is not damaged by wind and rain, the picture is carefully painted in layers on the inner side using a paintbrush. The craftsmen enjoy making these items while incorporating traditional patterns, auspicious designs, as well as current trends. These Edo Wind Chimes catch the summer breeze and their glass creates a light, refreshing sound. This brings an Edo elegance which is somewhat nostalgic to our five senses.

A wide variety of clear glass wind chimes that bring us Edo coolness

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An item that isn't just for fanning
"Edo Fans" that add chicness to your life

Sensu fans, which were used as a symbol to identify nobility, are said to have originated a long time ago in Kyoto. However, Edo Fan-making using traditional techniques has also been passed down in Tokyo. In contrast to the division of work style popular in Kyoto, when making Edo Fans there are around 30 steps from start to completion that are nearly all performed by the same person. If all of these techniques have not been mastered to a high degree, it is not possible to make a fan that is up to scratch. Hiroshi Matsui, who was born into a home of Edo Fan craftsmen, is someone who is continuing to pursue such superior craftsmanship.

Compared to the flamboyant fans of Kyoto, Edo Fans are simple and chic. They feature a low number of ribs and a wide span when unfurled. Also, they are made using just bamboo and washi paper. They look simple but it takes at least 4 days to complete all the steps needed to make them. Also, as the fans are made using natural materials, they are susceptible to the effects of humidity. In order to work during all 4 seasons of Japan, a craftsman must depend on his many years of vital knowledge. Fans that have had such scrupulous care paid to them in each and every step during creation can open with a snapping sound, smartly close and be used for 10-15 years. From being a symbol of the identity of nobility, sensu fans came to be used to bring coolness to regular people. However, there are also used nowadays at each important juncture of one's life, such as at a traditional wedding etc. These fans bring chicness to a new beginning in your life and also deliver a luxurious wind to your everyday life. In recent years, modern stylish designs are also enthusiastically being used creating a new "Edo chic".

Simple & sophisticated "Edo Fans" made with aesthetics committed to chicness

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