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JAPANESE TRADITIONAL CRAFTS

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Toyooka Bag (wicker crafts)

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Toyooka bag is called Toyooka Kiryu-Zaiku.

Kiryu is a special name for a kind of osier, which grows in damp ground around the lower part of Maruyama river, in Toyooka city, Yabu city, and Mikatagun-Kasumi town in Hyogo prefecture.

Kiryu-Zaiku then means baskets and trunks made of this smooth and soft plant and rattans.

One Japanese myth says that the origin was delivered by Ameno Hibokono Mikoto, who established Tajima country in the 1st century.

Actually, the products of this kind had been widely seen in 8th century, and one of good quality craft was stored in Shoso In, treasure museum in Nara Prefecture built in the 7th century.

The beginning was, probably, very natural that the material, osiers, were easily obtained and people need to carry things anytime, anywhere.

But osiers and rattans require preparation before the creation. First, they need to be harvested, and then peeled, wet, and dried. The nature of the plants, soft when they are wet and hard when dried, is the key for this craft making.

In Azuchimomoyama period (1568-1598) when Toyooka domain developed as castle town, the production of Toyooka bag : Toyooka Kiryu-Zaiku was also established as the industry.

The first lord of the domain, Kyougoku Takamori, supported the education and marketing of Kiryu-Zaiku. Then in 1763, a monopoly was established. Whicker crafts made in Toyooka became very popular.

In Edo era (1603-1867), the use of this kind baskets spread to citizens, and in Meiji (1868-1912), it was introduced globally in various international exhibitions.

Toyooka bag : Toyooka Kiryu-Zaiku is very light, tough, easily permeated, and washable for the material. A lot of efforts to weave the whole cases and baskets realize this stunning usefulness.

Toyooka bag : Toyooka Kiryu-Zaiku was designated as Traditional Craft by METI (Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry) in 1992.


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