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Miyakonojo Daikyu (archery bows)

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Miyakonojo is the second largest city in Miyazaki prefecture.

However, the nature and personalities of the residents are said to rather belong to Kagoshima, Satsuma area, and there are many cultural features brought in by people from Satsuma. Miyakonojo Daikyu is one of them.

Since there are plenty of bamboo trees, production of bow had begun long ago and became a thriving industry in the middle Edo era (1603-1867).

However, in Meiji era (1868-1912), when the time for Samurai ended, it became even further. The reason was one skillful craftsman with a lot of experience moved from Satsuma, Sendai area to Miyakonojo following a best materials for bow making. His name was Kusumi Yoshiharu.

He not only brought his knowledge to Miyakonojo, but also started to cultivate the production and raised a lot of pupils.

In early Showa (1926-1989), Miyakonojo became a big production center of bows. Miyakonojo Daikyu was also exported to Eastern Asia nations.

The procedure of making this long bow made of bamboo is, however, not easy since it starts from obtaining good bamboo. Drying and taking out oil is the next important step, so the bamboo sprits are roasted. Then shaved and combined with other bamboo splits to form a bow. For making the curve precise and effective to shoot allows, artisans put their energy to tight them and complete them. After leaving the bow, which was formed well and polished well, for about 10 days, finally finishing is done.

When forming, the places of knots are especially important to achieve the best distribution of weight. Usually 7 knots are on the outside, 6 on the inside.

Currently, most archery bows made of bamboo in Japan are produced in Miyakonojo.

For the influence to make Miyakonojo a very unique city, and of course for the beauty and the quality of them, Miyakonojo Daikyu was designated as Traditional Craft by METI (Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry) in 1994.


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