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~Past Event ~
2007 Information

Take Zaiku (Bamboo Crafts)
Demonstration & Workshop
by Kazutaka Toda

About Miyoshi Kago (Basketry)

Arima Kago (basketry) began in the 16th century. Arima, one of the oldest and most famous hot spring areas is located in the mountain areas of Hyogo Prefecture. It has long been known for producing quality bamboo. Fine craftsmanship is required to convert the harvested bamboo into strips before weaving. These bamboo strips are crafted into a wide range of containers by a variety of weaving techniques. It is said that a founder of Senke Tea School, Sen-no Rikyu (1522-1591) used Arima baskets in the tea ceremonies.

The long established Toda Chikugei Ten (Toda Bamboo Crafts Shop), founded in 1885, had been making bamboo baskets at Yokawa-cho in Hyogo Prefecture for many years as a side line to farming. In the 1870s, Jinnosuke Toda, the first generation, learned the techniques of Arima basketry and began adding inventive ideas to the original methods to weave in his own unique style. Today that most distinctive technique is widely known as "Miyoshi basketry", designated by Hyogo Prefecture as a traditional handicraft. The unique mesh patterns were based on and re-create the ancient technique of "Kego" preserved in the Shôsôin (an ancient imperial storehouse in Nara) and are called "skip-two wickerwork weaving."

In 1929, when the Emperor Showa (the crown price then) visited Hyogo, Miyoshi basketry won prizes at an exhibition and then received orders from the Imperial Household Agency. Since that time, many of these items have been presented to the Imperial Family as special products of Hyogo Prefecture. The hand-crafted items of this beautifully detailed "Miyoshi basketry" weaving are used in first-class hotels and restaurants and for on-board serving by airlines. This exquisite style of basketry is especially treasured by many in the worlds of tea ceremony and flower arrangement.

(Photos taken in 2006)

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Mr. Kazutaka Toda - Profile

Mr. Kazutaka Toda, the 5th generation "Miyoshi Basketry" traditional craftsman, worked for 8 years after college for a geological research firm and then succeeded to the family business. He uses bamboo varieties from the Yokawa area of Hyogo Prefecture, mainly Tanba Hanchiku, and also Madake, Môsô and Hachiku to make flower baskets, tea-ceremony implements, containers and other household items, lamps using bamboo and bamboo paper, bamboo bags, and bamboo toys. The range of his work encompasses not only the traditional items and techniques, but he also creates new items employing the traditional technique of Miyoshi Basketry.

Mr. Toda has participated in traditional handicraft exhibits and craft fairs throughout Japan. He visits local retirement homes and elementary schools to conduct demonstrations and workshops, and actively introduces to many people the beauty and complexity of bamboo craft. Moreover, to introduce Japan's wonderful traditional bamboo craft abroad, he has visited Taiwan (1995) and Australia (1996) to conduct workshops and give demonstrations.

In September 2007, he first participated in the 2-day Aki Matsuri at Bellevue Community College, then visited Spokane, the sister city of Hyogo's Nishinomiya City, and then conducted a workshop at the Northwest Basket Weavers Guild's monthly meeting.

(Photos Courtesy of Toda-san)

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