It seems that the link between Kure and writing brushes dates back to when some brushes were acquired from a region of what is now Hyogo Prefecture by one Kikutani Sanzo at the beginning of the 19th century. The brushes were brought for use at the temples in the area and, as a result of this business, the advantages of actually making brushes during the slack time of the agricultural calendar were explained to the local farmers.
It was the brushes made by Ueno Yaekichi in the middle of the 19th century that marked the real beginnings of the production of what came to be known as the Kawajiri Fude. Subsequently others took up the work and gradually these brushes became known throughout the country.
The way in which the hair for these brushes is combined is not really suited to mass production methods. It does, however, produce a very high quality brush, the making of which demands very specific skills.
These brushes are generally made using a hair-mixing method called “Nerimaze.” This method is not suitable for mass production; on the other hand, since it requires very advanced techniques, finished products will invariably be premium-quality brushes.
How to make
The whole process is divided into the three stages of brush neck manufacturing, shaft manufacturing and completion, in each one of which components are hand-processed one by one based on ancient techniques and completed with great care. The raw materials used are mainly, animal hairs for the brush neck and bamboo and wood for the shaft; animal hair has been used uninterruptedly from the time the first Kawajiri fude began to be produced.