Miyakonojo DaikyuMiyakonojo Bows

shikajishimanari is descending arbalest, and what was made flourishingly remains for record late in the Edo era. The Meiji era began, and next Kusumis who lived trained craftsman of the making of many bows from Kawauchi district. Early in the Showa era, it was in large production center where product was sold to in East Asia partly because we were blessed with abundant raw materials.
There was the slump period after the war, but craftsman made with bow nearly 30 played an active part in the golden age. We produce 90% of bamboo bow even now as the only production center in our country.

Closely connected with the history of Kagoshima, there are documents verifying that just after the middle of the 19th century, the making of Miyakonojo Daikyu was a thriving local craft and by the end of the century, many bow makers had been instructed in the craft by two generations of the locally residing Kusumi family. Blessed with plentiful supplies of locally obtainable raw materials, the craft developed and by the 1920s bows were being sold in East Asia.
Although there was a fall in demand after World War II, at the height of production there were some 30 bow makers active in the area. It is now the country's only production center for bows, 90% of all bamboo bows being made here.

Following an established pattern, there are seven joints of bamboo on the forward face and six on the inner face. Although the shape may differ according to who makes it, a good bow is thought to be one with a perfect balance between its upper and lower portions, and one to which consideration has been given to its center of gravity and the distribution of weight after the arrow has been shot.

  • Notification

    skills and techniques

    Drying is thing by naturally drying.

    Bamboo grinds "fire pan".

    Processing of "bow core" is thing by the next technique.

    You put bamboo into with "side tree" and laminate, and tighten with ropes and wedge.

    Reduce the upper part of bow and the lower part to become thinner than part of grip.

    Processing of "bow bamboo" is thing by the next technique.

    Gnarl compose the outside of seven bamboo six knobs the inside.

    You thicken and finish part of grip of bow around 0.4 millimeters from the upper part and the lower part, and perform cut.

    "Implantation" is thing by the next technique.

    We put "bow core" into by "bow bamboo", and "sum tree" produce "Seki board".

    Comply with archery and have bamboo and bind with ropes, and touch curve into a semicircle form in spite of being clamping with wedge.

    "Doorstepping" is thing by the next technique.

    You prepare "yuhazu" into "sum tree" and "Seki board", and it is degree, or kick to tension stand in half day.

    You step with foot, and fix bow type.

    You finish to "sum tree" and "Seki board" and polish and do finish, and do "rattan roll" in "nigirisoku".

    Raw materials

    It be said that bamboo to use has materials which are equal to common Japanese bamboo or this.

    It be said that board to use has materials which are equal to goby or this.

  • Work scenery

    It is simple and sturdy, and value as tradition industrial art object which should succeed dignity only by bamboo bow in curviness and the next generation that there is attracts attention of Miyakonojo Daikyu descending from Satsuma bow superior in actual fighting characteristics with passage of times more and more.
    Tradition of Miyakonojo Daikyu and world "of" best are perfect gems sounding through soul of the Kyudos that it is not all to shoot mark.
    Material of Miyakonojo Daikyu is common Japanese bamboo and Haji (goby) whom warm climate of Miyakonojo and rich nature brought up. It is said that there is process of arbalest to put this on several levels, and to be crowded, and to build up more than 200. And one bowyer finishes all by handwork.
    With characteristic that we are superior in yahi bino efficiency, and settlement of string (string) has good, it is Miyakonojo Daikyu with dignity only by bamboo bow. Bowyers build up with great deal of effort in each work at the foot of magnificent Kirishima while imagining momentary twang (we have cramped) to clear up to shoot arrow.
    Here, we comment on work process of Miyakonojo Daikyu roughly.

    Process 1: Bamboo forest

    High quality bamboo grows up in one of Miyakonojo. Materials of arbalest are common Japanese bamboo of rich third grader brought up naturally.

    Process 2: Beginning to cut of common Japanese bamboo

    Time to cut and bring down bamboo is cold time from November through December. As for the bamboo of this cold time, it may be said that it is the best material to enter dry season to use for material of bow. As for the common Japanese bamboo to use for bow bamboo, common Japanese bamboo which people use for 18-21cm, core bamboo cuts and brings down two kinds more than 30cm. After having made them piece of wood, during 3-4 months, we let you naturally dry.

    Process 3: Decoloring by oil, drying of bow bamboo

    We warm bow bamboo with charcoal and wipe off oil content included in. Bamboo becoming inside of bow smokes in room (muro) to attach power of restitution and does to smoke-stained bamboo (burn soot). We repeat the work for 1-2 years while washing soot in water until it becomes reddish yellow.

    Process 4: Field firing of bow bamboo, core bamboo

    Inside bamboo and core bamboo strongly perform field firing of both sides, and the outside of bow bamboo burns only side among bamboo to keep curve.

    Process 5: Tension alignment of bow core

    We sharpen 4-7 pieces of core bamboo which we burnt thinly and laminate to give both sides with side tree of Haji (goby). We drive wedge and straighten clamping, bow core. Thread which passed, and added weight and the length of the thread at shaku called eight sheets (grow) is about to depend, and give a twist using car.

    Process 6: Cut of bow bamboo

    We sharpen bow bamboo which performed field firing mainly on part of grip. We perform finish cut evenly so as to become both ends of bow to become slightly thin.

    Process 7: Sum tree (hitaigi), cut of Seki board (there was cough)

    We are intended to prevent that bamboo in in place to hang string (string) of top and bottom of bow slips off. As curves are different under the top, we finish to the curve.

    Process 8: Implantation of bow

    We pick up bow core with bow bamboo and we attach sum tree (hitaigi), Seki board (there was cough) and glue together. We attach curve into a semicircle form and devote ourselves while tightening with 80-100 wedges.

    Process 9: Doorstepping of bow

    We take off wedge and make model of bow with tension stand. We step with foot while attaching string, and seeing effect such as forms of top and bottom and fix bow type. The good or bad of bow is decided for this wild tension.

    Process 10: Finish of bow

    Keep watch for bow which performed wild cut around 10th, and of model grasp when calm down, and do how to shave that there was to the bow by hatchet (machete) and knife in sum tree, part of Seki board.

    Process 11: nigirisoku (shozoku)

    After watching finished bow more, and having adjusted, we do rattan roll.

    Process 12: Completion

    Miyakonojo Daikyu is made after process more than 200 by hand in this way and is completed.


  • Close-up

    Miyakonojo Daikyu which succeeds to the skill of artisan, and breathes in "heart of Japan" now

    Tradition and technique are handed down to Miyakonojo Daikyu from the times of north and south morning and receive high evaluation from person of much Kyudo in samurai, the present age in ancient times.
    It was said to be country of Naotake, and, in this district said to that we maintained character of one of Kamakura samurai until it became Meiji, the martial arts were recommended, and production of tool for martial arts was prosperous, too.


    Origin of "Miyakonojo Daikyu"

    Miyakonojo rules the nation's largest manor called Shimazu-so in the Middle Ages and is the birthplace of "the Shimazus" which became Satsuma feudal lord later. In Satsuma feudal clan which was nature of the locality of Naotake than ancient times, the martial arts were encouraged, and production of arms was carried out flourishingly, too. Above all, fame of Miyakonojo Daikyu is high-pitched, and it is said that the manufacturing method has been already established early in the Edo era.
    In Miyakonojo, we produce approximately more than 90% of domestic bamboo bows even now. We watched story to Shigeji Nagano (naganoshigeji) of bowyer (goyumishi) who was Master of Traditional Crafts of Miyakonojo Daikyu production this time.

    The history of "Miyakonojo Daikyu"

    There was workshop of bow of Nagano in quiet place for approximately 20 minutes by car from Miyakonojo city. Nagano was taciturn person who had taste of craftsman who made quite traditional arms. Nagano recited the history of bow falteringly. "Originally there was nature of the locality that the martial arts were encouraged, but was straight production center of bamboo of good quality here. It is written on documents of the Edo era. And the Meiji era began and bowyer, Kusumi came to Miyakonojo from Kagoshima and lived and trained many pupils. All the present bow craftsmen act as direct descendant. In addition, Miyakonojo as production center of bow was established early in the Showa era by having extended market in Asian countries."

    Shigeji Nagano at own workshop

    Relations of Japanese mind and archery

    There is the word to "wait for tegusuneohiite". Tempered resin and oil of the etymology of these words, hand tempered resin and oil (tegusune) was adhesion materials that kneaded a mixture of oil with pine resin (pine nicotine) and painted bowstring (string) with it and raised strength. In other words, "we filch" in hand and paint o collecting, bowstring and are from state to wait for enemy. Besides, historical fact idiomatic expression has many words about bow. Bow had deep relation to culture, mind of Japan like that. Nagano said, "we feel pride in succeeding mind from ancient times in Japan.".

    Miyakonojo Daikyu which waits for the last finish

    "It was like that, and kontabiha, yoka bow were done."

    Of course, as for the making of bow, the all steps are handmade. Besides, bowyer performs all the processes alone.
    "Of course I go into bamboo forest for good bamboo, too. Bamboo to use in the inside, the outside of bow, each other parts is different. Time to cut and bring down bamboo from November to about December. As we enter dry season of bamboo at this time, it is said and is time for the making of bow most. Saying it is cold time, but is glad, and burn if find good bamboo so as to forget cold; as for saying is; Nagano. After "many processes, bow is done, but cannot make bow which we can show to other people afterwards when we bet own body and soul with love and do not make as bow is creature."
    We asked a question what you would do if bow not to like was done. "It is duster percent tto after shibarakuno silence. It was answer called (we smash). The name of producer carves one by one and, to bow which we put great deal of effort and made, is crowded. Shameful thing will be gut of craftsman whom we cannot send to the world.
    "And, Mrs. Nagano who next, heard story for question what kind of state of mind is if bow which we could understand myself was completed?" calmly till then,
    "It was like that, and kontabiha, yoka bow were done." He/she told this with smile saying it is joyful face.

    Tool, plane (plane) with attachment that we used for many years

    Craftsman profile

    Shigeji Nagano (naganoshigeji)

    It was born in 1937.
    Succeed predecessors in the family line, 35 years in this year made with arbalest.


    The history and historic spot of Miyakonojo

    It empties in the eighth century that Miyakonojo district appeared on the history. County system was spread in sun country, and Miyakonojo district belonged to prefectures county (moroagatagun) in those days. In addition, we are told that Shimazu-so as manor (shimazunosho) took place by development of the basis (sea bream and others we lay and have) for flat season in the eleventh century. At the beginning of the Kamakura era, he considered, and sect Tadahisa (Tadahisa of this breast) was appointed than Yoritomo Minamoto by post of Shimazu-so lord of a manor, and Tadahisa changed to Shimazu family name later. This descendant is Shimazu with power later in one Minamikyushu.
    Child, shichu of shimatsushishidaichushu (just breast) were given here when it became early in the Muromachi era, and shichu changed the family name with "Kitago" (hongo) for territory. Kitago lengthens power afterward and, at the time of hachidaichuso (be only not crowded), almost unifies Miyakonojo Basin. At the time of judaijikyu (tokihisa), power became greatest. After the Kyushu subjugation of Hideyoshi Toyotomi, as for Kitago, Miyakonojo was pursued more to change placement, but, after the revolt of Shonai that took place in 1599 (Keicho 4), Kitago returned to Miyakonojo.
    In the early modern times, our district was governed as fief of Satsuma feudal clan by Miyakonojo Shimazu (Kitago) him and we had office organization mechanism like this feudal clan and we put lord of a manor in the territory and ruled over higher salary next to feudal lord again. In addition, 182 Miyakonojo members of a squad participate in position of the fifth Dragon of the late Tokugawa period according to this feudal clan. Furthermore, 1,550 people participated in the war as member of the Saigo forces at southwest position.
    With establishment of prefectures in place of feudal domains of 1871, Miyakonojo prefecture was put in our district, but was short term called more than one year.
    We were incorporated in Miyazaki in 1883 and became Miyakonojo-cho in 1889, and municipal organization was enforced on April 1, 1924. It merges each municipalities of offing water, Isoichi, Shiwa Pond, Shonai, middle volost and continues up to the present day afterwards.

    • Miyakonojo garrison town (native district hall)



Industrial art object name Miyakonojo Daikyu
Phonetic symbol miyakonojodaikyu
Classification of industrial art object Woodcraft, Bamboo Craftwork
Main product Tool for Kyudo
Main production area Miyazaki / Miyakonojo-shi, Mimata-cho, Kitamorokata-gun
The designation date April 4, 1994

Contact information

■local production associations

Miyakonojo bow manufacturing industry cooperative association
3987-2, Kabayama, Mimata-cho, Kitamorokata-gun, Miyazaki
TEL: 0986-52-2040
FAX: 0986-52-3719

■Associated exhibit space, facility


Bow consists of six melodies outward in seven, the inside, and form is decided. Form of bow varies among craftsmen made with bow, but weight of top and bottom is balanced, and bow which thought about distribution and center of gravity of weight at the time of repercussion of string when we shoot bow is good bow.

A form of the bow is consisted of 7 outer sections and 6 inner sections. The shape is different depending on its craftsman, but a good bow must be balanced in upper and lower weight, and also has a good distribution of weight and positioning of center of gravity when drawing the bow.

How to make

We pick up common Japanese bamboo and bow core made of gobies with two pieces of bow bamboo and wind up thing which we touch sum tree (hitaigi), Seki board and glued together with rope and we touch curve into a semicircle form in spite of being clamping with wedge and launch. After having run to tension stand, we step with foot and fix bow type.

A bow core made of bamboo and wax tree are interposed between two sheets of bow-shaped bamboo. The core is tightened with a wedge in a crescent shape after adhering bow tips and wrapped by a rope. The bow is then fixed to the platform and adjusted using foot.

Voice from production center

Bow is creature. Please contact with feeling bringing up archery with love. Particularly, we become cause that outside bamboo is broken, and model collapses when we make state that always set up string (string). We sometimes take off string, and it is necessary to let you take a rest.

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