There are two types of traditional Japanese hand fans, sensu, the well known folding fan, and uchiwa, a rigid fan made of silk or paper stretched on a fine bamboo frame. Today, 90 percent of the Japanese uchiwa production is made in Marugame. It is said that the craft first appeared here 400 years ago, learned by locals from a traveling monk.
In the beginning, uchiwa was used as a souvenir for the pilgrims visiting the Konpira Jinja, but towards the end of the Edo Period the production increased and uchiwa became a popular accessory. Uchiwa production is now a designated traditional craft, and if you visit Marugame, you will have the opportunity to see the artisans making them, at the Uchiwa Museum and in the shop nearby the Marugame Castle.
And of course, you can also buy handcrafted uchiwa as an exquisite souvenir from Japan…
Yesterday’s Japan Photo: