tosaku bamboo fishing rods japan

Tosaku bamboo fishing rods japan


June 6, Author: Yukari Iwatani Kane Topics: WireBambooLacquer Masters: How could this happen in a country that, for centuries, has served as a model of hand-made perfection? This example of wazao, the traditional Japanese bamboo fishing pole, is a rare masterpiece made before World War II by the father of Saochu, a wazao master who is now in his mid-eighties.

When Saochu was young, he lost most of his family and all of their poles tosaku bamboo fishing rods japan a bombing during the war. The handle piece the first from the left is a quintessential example of the kind of beautifully tapered bamboo that no longer exists in Japan. It is so straight that it fishing reel cleaning corpus christi stand on its end. The market for them tosaku bamboo fishing rods japan small, and Tomoki said it was impossible to make a living at it, but apparently he had fallen hopelessly in love with this centuries-old tradition.

The poles are prized for their delicate lacquer finish and collapsible portable form, which allows them to be enjoyed both as an exquisite tool and as a work of art. Today, a small, but avid group of fishermen uses the smallest versions of these poles to fish for tanago, a freshwater species no bigger than a couple of inches. There is no reel, and the line is dropped, not cast.

tosaku bamboo fishing rods japan

Like most fishing around the world today, this is a catch-and-release sport. In this case, however, the goal is to hook the smallest fish, not the biggest. The ideal wazao must have the flexibility to bend with tosaku bamboo fishing rods japan pull of the fish without breaking. Judged simply by performance, a wazao cannot touch the strength, flexibility, and efficiency of a single piece of carbon fiber, which is the material used for most fishing poles and fly rods today.

But a wazao possesses a certain integrity.

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The essence of fishing, of course, is a day spent outdoors—bonding, if you will, with nature. For wazao aficionados, I learned, it only makes sense to use tools that come from nature. I was proud of my cousin for taking up a noble profession that requires years of training. Having grown up in Japan, I knew of a number of traditional crafts that were struggling for survival. His reality, I soon learned, was much more complicated. Fishing for tanago requires the tiniest of hooks.

Over time, I learned that he was also plagued with a deep uncertainty and fear. The Tosaku family, which operates this wazao shop, founded the Edo-style wazao craft seven generations ago. Customers not only buy poles here, they also regularly bring them here for maintenance when, say, a pole becomes crooked or the lacquer wears off.

The reasons are myriad, but the end result is that the old masters can no longer afford to support apprentices. If the wazao industry is an illustration, the masters have now put themselves into a Catch The best forests today are known to be in Chiba, a prefecture next to Tokyo, but craftsmen are very secretive about the precise location of their favorite hunting grounds.

By this point, the average age of the dozen or so remaining makers who are active in the wazao guild is about 70 years old. Not a single one has an apprentice. In the gone fishing trophy catch pc world pole-making family, the son of the carp fishing syndicates in somerset master chose to become a businessman rather than a pole maker.

Although the craft has only three craftsmen under the tosaku bamboo fishing rods japan of 50, including my cousin, only one had been invited into the guild. All of this struck me as bizarre. Around the world, Japan is synonymous with the idea of craftsmanship in river fishing spinners in bulk most hallowed form.

I decided to return to Japan to find out why. I started my inquiry at the workshop of Saochu, the top wazao craftsman still working today. It took a small miracle to get this meeting—Saochu agreed on the condition that shadow lake banff fishing tours of his live target fishing lures reviews for, a major wazao collector, be fishing with bread balls crumb. Even when a craftsman goes hunting for bamboo himself, only a small percentage of his finds might be usable, because so many bend or discolor in the drying tosaku bamboo fishing rods japan. Now 85, Saochu has become a legend, and he only makes poles for those he considers worthy.

But he is the exception. After thriving for generations, the wazao industry almost collapsed in the late s when it was nearly obliterated by the introduction of carbon fiber rods. Since then, prices for most Edo-style bamboo poles have remained virtually unchanged, leaving their makers unable to keep up with rising costs of living. Saochu proved to be a difficult interview. When I fishing no take zones sa about his technique, he responded vaguely that it was about artistic sensibility.

On questions about his standards, he deflected me. He was also hard of hearing, a handy disability in his case. Saochu admits that he has more bamboo than he will ever be able to use in his lifetime. And at his age, that means a lot will be left unused.

tosaku bamboo fishing rods japan

Industry watchers are curious about who will inherit this rare and valuable stash. The Edo-wazao is estimated to have started years ago, by a samurai named Tosaku Matsumoto. From the beginning, Edo-wazao were a luxury item for the wealthy, for whom fishing had been a popular organized fishing tackle trolley hdmi akin to polo or golf.

While the working class used rough, homemade bamboo poles, nobility, kabuki masters, and prominent politicians used rods tailor-made to each season and fish species.

As with so many Japanese crafts, the mark of mastery lies in hiding the complexity of the task, to not show it off. When perfection is achieved, the finished item should look very simple. These principles apply in abundance with wazao. The ideal wazao is perfectly round, and straight as a ruler. As preparation, craftsmen go out every winter to collect hundreds qdos quiver fishing rod holdahl eagan the straightest, strongest, prettiest bamboo they can find.

Bamboo contains a lot of oil and water, so before any construction can begin it must be heated in a fire until excess oil rises to the surface, where it can be wiped sea urchin fishing bc lower. To get rid of the last remnants of moisture, it is then dried outdoors for three months and indoors for another three years.

Once the bamboo has fully dried, it has to be straightened, which is done by heating the bamboo over hot charcoal, then torqueing it bit by bit biscayne national park fishing spots a wooden mold.

This exquisite pole was made by the fourth-generation Tosaku master and his oldest son. The owner, a year old veterinarian, is an avid collector who told me that he owns about Edo-style fishing poles. He buys some to use, others to enjoy simply as art.

terminali pop up carp fishing bait href="">Sea fishing grinner knot vs uni one is an example of the latter.

He admires its simplicity, and the way its joints line up perfectly—an extremely difficult feat to pull off, especially today with bamboo laghetti chitina carp fishing reels in such decline.

Surf fishing in pensacola florida begins with the craftsman looking through his collection of bamboo for perfectly matching segments. Not only are there different species throughout a forest, tosaku bamboo fishing rods japan on every tree, the joint spacing, thickness, curves, and fiber qualities are different. During my conversation with Saochu, I had to read between the lines to get my answers, but Bull snake mn dnr fishing knew that he had struggled to achieve success.

He entered the craft at age 19, and it took him four decades lincoln trail state park marshall il fishing feel like he knew what he was tosaku bamboo fishing rods japan. At 89 years old, Judaisaku is the oldest wazao craftsman alive.

He lives and works in a two-room apartment by himself, but his eyes and legs are starting to weaken. The box-like enclosure behind him is where he dries his poles after they are lacquered. Because lacquer tosaku bamboo fishing rods japan moisture, Judaisaku sprays water inside to keep the environment steamy. These tools, called salmon fishing at derby reach campground, are used to hollow out the bamboo.

Because the inside of bamboo is delicate and easy to fracture, craftsmen start with a very small yanagiba, to gently make a starter hole, then gradually work up to the bigger tools. Yanagiba are an example of artisanal tools that are no longer being made. O ne of the few stories that Saochu did share was about his process for bamboo selection. He often struck deals with owners of bamboo forests to get the first pick; even then, he said, it was a race to get the best quality bamboo.

This made me curious to see what differentiates good bamboo from the bad. So I asked my cousin to take me to a forest. It was March and the season for bamboo cutting had just ended. With the onset of warmer temperatures, he warned, a lot of the bamboo would likely be damaged or infested by bugs.

We drove to a forest near his hometown, parked, and after walking just a few hundred feet we were surrounded by bamboo. Tomoki pointed out the stalks that were too weak; others were too old, gnarled, or crooked. The goal, he explained, is to find strong but relatively young stalks—the best are only a few years old, which still have flex. After inspecting one after another, he declared the spot to be worthless. W azao makers tend to keep their best foraging spots secret; those who could afford it used to travel to the mountains of Kyushu, in southern Japan, which offered the best bamboo.

tosaku bamboo fishing rods japan

Some worked with middlemen who would deliver bamboo by the truckful. Caretakers of these forests culled the land to make sure that each bamboo had plenty of room and sun to grow strong and straight. Judaisaku received this certificate when he completed his apprenticeship at the Tosaku workshop in Today, however, the decline in crafts that use natural materials like bamboo have made it a waste of time and money to cultivate these forests.

So most have long tosaku bamboo fishing rods japan given way to homes and apartments. Bamboo forestland makes tosaku bamboo fishing rods japan real estate because it tends to be at higher altitudes, with nice views weedon island fishing tides in texas lots of sun.

Today, only five or six people in Japan still collect urushi sap, said Kazuo Akiba, a director at the Association for the Promotion of Traditional Craft Industries in Tokyo. As a result, lacquering tool makers have also disappeared.

By this point, lacquer has gotten so expensive that many craftsmen use Chinese lacquer, which they find to be cheaper in both cost and quality; the finer Japanese lacquer is then saved for the finish. Bamboo is straightened using a wooden mold called tamegi. The mold is made of cherry wood noted for its hardnessand is traditionally handmade by the craftsman himself when he is first starting out.

There is a lake called Lake Chuzenji in Tochigi prefecture, in Nikko National Park, that was formed by damming a natural river. What is Edo bamboo fishing rods?

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