Kyoto Folding Fans
Folding fans date back to the beginning of the Heian period (794-1185). It is thought that the first ones were shaped very much like the fans we know today but they were made out of several thin leaves of wood tied together. These fans were called hi-ogi because they were made out of hinoki or Japanese cypress (Chamaecyparis obtusa).
Kyoto Round Fans
Kyo Uchiwa go back to the period in Japanese history known as the Northern and Southern Dynasties (1333-92). It is said that round fans from Korea were brought back to western Japan by wako, Japanese pirates who were constantly raiding the coast of Ming dynasty China and Korea at the time. These imported fans then found their way up through the Kishu to Nara and then onto Fukakusa where aristocrats from Kyoto had their country villas.
Kyoto Art Mountings
Art mounting dates back to the Heian period (794-1185), when pieces of artwork, calligraphy and the Sutras were strengthened by backing them with fabric. Later, calligraphy and paintings were backed or edged with paper or fabric for display or to help protect them.
Banshu Fishing Flies
The techniques of this craft were introduced to Banshu from Kyoto toward the end of the Edo period (1600-1868). Local farmers began making the hooks and flies in their spare time, preserving and developing the craft over the years, while gradually perfecting each type of hook to a level at which it would bring good results. Flies won a number of prizes at Fisheries Fairs held during the late 1800s and as a result, Banshu Kebari earned the recognition of many fishermen.
It seems likely that the making of Fukuyama Koto started at the time of the erection of a castle at the beginning of the Edo period (1600-1868) in Fukuyama, which is now a city in Hiroshima Prefecture. Craft industries flourished in castle towns during the Edo period, and with encouragement from the feudal lord at the time, both accompanied and unaccompanied songs were very popular in Fukuyama.
Marugame Round Fans
This type of coated, ridged fan with a round gold seal on it was devised a something pilgrims going to the well-known temple of Konpira on the island of Shikoku could buy. During the 18th century, the Marugame clan made their production a part-time job for clan warriors and this became the foundation of today's craft. At present, almost 90% of all round fans made in Japan are produced in the area.
It seems likely that Yame Chochin came into being sometime at the beginning of the 19th century with the painting of simple decorations on a rudimentary form of paper lantern. By the middle of the same century great advances had been achieved in the design, causing something of a revolution in their making. And, by the end of the century, lanterns occupied an important position within local industry.