【Introduction to Traditional Crafts】 ~Beppu Bamboo Work (Oita Prefecture)~

【Introduction to Traditional Crafts】 ~Beppu Bamboo Work (Oita Prefecture)~


Beppu bamboo work



【Production area of Beppu bamboo work】

Beppu City, Oita Prefecture



【What is Beppu bamboo work?】

These handicrafts are made mainly in Beppu City, Oita Prefecture, and the main material is Madake bamboo harvested in Oita Prefecture.

In addition to daily necessities such as “flower baskets” for picking flowers, “rice baskets” for storing cooked rice to prevent it from spoiling, chopsticks and colanders, we have new products that match the times, such as basket bags and lunch baskets are also actively developing

In addition, inns in Beppu City came into the spotlight for their interior decorations and partitions made by craftsmen.


Beppu bamboo craft products made with outstanding technology have many fans not only in Japan but also in countries around the world.


In August 1979, it was designated as a traditional craft.

It is the only traditional craft in Oita Prefecture.



【Features of Beppu bamboo work】

The method of weaving bamboo strips is called “weaving”, and the main feature is that everything is handmade by craftsmen.

The eight basic braids are as follows.

It is said that more than 200 types of weaving methods can be expressed by making full use of multiple braids.


・Quarter stitch


A technique in which flat strips of bamboo of equal thickness are intertwined.

The origin of the name comes from the square eyes that are evenly spaced.


・Six stitches


A method of braiding six bamboo strips so that the stitches form a hexagon.

Since diagonal knitting is added, it becomes stronger than four-stitch knitting.


・Eight eyes knitting


A method of braiding so that the stitches are octagonal.


・Ajiro knitting


A method that uses thick flat strips of bamboo and assembles them without any gaps.


・Gozame knitting


A method of using thick bamboo strips vertically and thin bamboo strips horizontally to assemble without any gaps.

The name comes from the fact that it looks like a mat because it is a little thinner and has more horizontal strips.


・Matsuba knitting


A method of interlacing the stitches and knitting so that it looks like a pine needle.


・Chrysanthemum bottom knitting


A method of weaving the circular bottom into a shape resembling a chrysanthemum flower.


・Arc knitting


A method in which strips of bamboo are assembled in a shape that spreads out in all directions, and weave them so that a loop is formed in the center.



【History of Beppu bamboo work】

The origin of Beppu bamboo work is described in the history book “Nihonshoki”.

It is said that when Emperor Keiko stopped by Beppu on his way back from the Kumaso expedition, a person who served the Emperor’s meal made a rice bowl basket out of Shinodake.


In the Muromachi period, baskets were made for peddlers (merchants who brought goods from one door to another and sold them), and bamboo crafts became common.


In the Edo period, Beppu became widely known as one of Japan’s leading hot spring resorts.

More and more people from all over Japan come to Beppu for hot spring treatments, and people buy them as daily necessities and souvenirs.

As a result, bamboo crafts developed and became established as an important industry supporting Beppu.


In 1902, the Beppu Technical Apprentice School (now Oita Technical High School) was established.

Many excellent craftsmen were produced, and it changed from daily necessities and souvenirs to crafts with artistic elements.


When Japan entered a period of rapid economic growth, many cheap plastic products began to appear on the market, and the demand for bamboo products gradually decreased.

In a critical situation, Beppu bamboo work shifted to high-end products.

As a result, not only the technical development but also many craftsmen who work on highly artistic works have emerged.

In 1967, Shounsai Ikuno, who was born in what is now Beppu City, became the first living national treasure in bamboo crafts.


The tradition of Beppu bamboo work has been handed down from generation to generation, while maintaining the flexibility to adapt to the times.



【Production process of Beppu bamboo work】

①Harvesting and deoiling


The harvested bamboo is high-quality bamboo that has grown over a period of three to four years.

In addition, it is said that it is good to cut trees in autumn or winter.

This is because the growth speed is slow, so there is little water and nutrients, and it is easy to prevent corrosion after felling.


After harvesting, the trees are boiled in alkaline water with caustic soda.

“Oil removal” is performed to wipe off the oil that has oozed out due to boiling.

There are three reasons for removing oil: “prevention of rotting”, “improvement of durability”, and “glossing of the bamboo surface”.


②Sun drying


By drying in the sun, the bamboo changes from green to beautiful ivory.

Bamboo that has been dried in the sun is called “sarashitake”.

Producers purchase sarashitake and make bamboo products.


③Cutting/rough splitting


The dried bamboo is cut to an appropriate length using a special tool.

First, scrape off the raised part to flatten it, then split it in half using a bamboo splitting knife.

By inserting a knife along the fibers of the bamboo, the craftsman can split it cleanly.

The halves are further split vertically, which is called “rough splitting”, which is repeated.





This is the process for making bamboo strips used when weaving baskets and colanders.

The roughly split bamboo is thinned in the order of “rough stripping → small splitting → thin stripping” to adjust the thickness of the strips of bamboo used in the post-process.


Skilled craftsmen are said to be able to judge the thickness of strips of bamboo just by feeling with their hands.


⑤Finishing the higo


Using a special tool called a “sukisho”, the thickness of the strips of bamboo is evened out.

Next, to align the width, pass the bamboo between the two narrow knives.

This process is complete when the surface is chamfered using a special sword and the bamboo strips are made into pieces that are easy to work with.


⑥Bottom knitting


From this process, craftsmen finally move on to the production of bamboo crafts.

The bottom part is woven first, but the bottom part is the most difficult and requires a high level of craftsmanship.

The reason why this process is difficult for craftsmen is that in order to make the flat bottom into a three-dimensional shape, the bamboo strips must be heated and raised gradually.

This task is called “waist rise”.


⑦Body knitting/neck knitting


This is the process of braiding the raised bamboo strips using the various braids mentioned above.


⑧Edge finish/Installation finish


“Edge finishing” is done after knitting.

Typical methods of edge finishing are as follows.



How to use the bamboo strips that have been woven up to this point as a rim



A method of fixing the bamboo used for the rim using a wire or the like.



How to wrap wisteria, etc.


Depending on the work, a handle may be attached.


⑨Painting process


Once the weaving process is complete, the bamboo work is boiled in a pot containing dyes and then dyed.

There are various types, including those with or without dyeing, and the main types are as follows.



Bamboo crafts made from green bamboo without dyeing



Bamboo work that oil removal is completed



Bamboo work with lacquer


The bamboo work that has been dyed with the undercoat is dried and then polished with a cloth.

If the craftsman polishes too hard, the bamboo will be damaged and lose its luster.

The craftsman must be careful with the amount of force so that the entire piece is polished evenly.


Finally, decorations are applied if necessary, and the Beppu bamboo work is completed.





Please be aware that we do not,

under any circumstances, sell alcohol to minors.

I'm sorry, You don't buy this product.

Prease enter your birthday.

Prease enter your birthday.: