Kumano FudeKumano Brushes

When most of farmers whom life could not support went to Kumano district of Kishu equal to current Wakayama and Yoshino district of Yamato equal to Nara to work only by agriculture for the agriculture shut period in the Edo era and returned to hometown, we stocked writing brush and sumi made in those districts and peddled. Because we did so, Kumano and ties of writing brush were born.
Resident of Kumano that wore method made with writing brush at goyohitsushi (goyofudeshi) of the Asanos of feudal lord who ruled Hiroshima feudal clan comes back to village, and, late in the Edo era, it is done with opening of Kumano Fude by villager what conveyed the technique.

During the Edo period (1600-1868), many farmers found life very difficult. When there was no farm work, peasants went off in search of work to the Kumano district in Kishu corresponding to present-day Wakayama and the Yoshino area of Yamato, which is now Nara Prefecture. On returning to their homelands they sold writing brushes and ink they had acquired from these places. Ultimately, this led to the making of brushes in Kumano.
Toward the end of the Edo period, brushes were being made in a workshop set up by the Asano family, head of the Hiroshima clan. The techniques of brush making became a firmly established craft among the people and the handing down of these skills within the village marked the beginnings of Kumano Fude as they are known today.

Many kinds of brushes for use in schools, for calligraphy, painting and even for makeup are being made by craftsmen today.

  • Notification

    skills and techniques

    Use ash of chaff for sadiron, hair fir tree.

    Use "summoku" and scissors for cylindrical tea cup with a blue line around the rim.

    "Work out, and mix" mixed wool; thing by ("mix tray", and "work out, and mix" after oshita, and include osuru case.).

    Use hemp thread for thread tightening.

    Raw materials

    Do spike with animal hair having materials which are equal to hair of goat, horse, deer, raccoon dog, weasel or cat or these.

    Assume axial material bamboo or tree.

  • Work scenery

    It is technique of the making of writing brush which has been inherited without changing among people that support production center, Kumano-cho of whole country's best writing brush.
    The making of writing brush is divided into process made with spike, process made with axle, but all each craftsman perform each process by hand. It may be said that the accuracy, grain with detail are acts of God.
    We divide into each process of <the making of spike> and <the making of axis> this time and explain in order.

    Process 1: We cross choice hair (we do not do already), hair (kegumi)

    By kind of writing brush to make, we sort out the quality of hair from necessary raw wool each and assort to hair to use and hair not to use. We measure and, depending on writing brush, are put together.

    Process 2: Sadiron, hair fir tree

    We cover with ash which roasted chaff and we bind hair which we hit with sadiron (iron) with deerskin and rub. We pull out oil content of hair and straighten hair and are process to make it easy to include sumi.

    Process 3: Keep hair

    After pulling comb (without comb), and doing, and having removed cotton wool, by small quantities pile up hair and prepare hair.

    Process 4: Lose and is taken hair trichiasis

    We completely align point of a brush and it semishines, and grind teased hair with (knife) and pull out hair while letting the touch of finger-tip work. We select only good hair thoroughly.

    Process 5: Cylindrical tea cup with a blue line around the rim

    We cut hair between longest hair on the tip of a writing brush (inochige), throat, stomach, tip of writing brush called waist and the lower part into pieces to each length.

    Video is played when we click image

    Process 6: We work out and mix

    We open wool which we made cylindrical tea cup with a blue line around the rim thinly and mix while touching thin paste (it lightly appears). We put wool varying in length uniformly while removing left teased hair and mix many times.

    Video is played when we click image

    Process 7: We put up core (shintate)

    We put up core and put hair in the pipe (top) and match thickness with standard. We pull out unnecessary hair more and dry.

    Process 8: Batter hair (we come off at the time) winding

    Coil yourself around core which we open batter wool (Jomo) thinly and dried so that ear looks more beautiful and dry more.

    Process 9: We close thread (itojime)

    It links the root of hair in hemp thread and we win grilled gote and gather up biscuit ware quickly. It is completion of spike in this.

    <the making of axis>

    Process 1: Selection of axis

    We choose axis of thickness to fit spike with sorting stand.

    Process 2: Save

    Warm up on fire and "we save and repair curve with tree" and straighten.

    Process 3: Axial cutting

    To length of order, we cut axis.

    Process 4: Art charge account

    We bond product made in celluloid and wooden art to axis.

    Process 5: Potter's wheel processing (chamfering)

    We reduce art to axial thickness with potter's wheel.

    Process 6: Axis polishing

    After having made wild polishing with water by polishing machine, we improve using ro (low).

    Process 7: Thread charge account

    To add thread to art with drill; pierce, and attach thread with eyeleteer.

    Process 8: Dharma processing

    At first we take mask of the axial tip of person following Dharma. We fit warihame in potter's wheel next and put Dharma doll which we blanched and decide length in summoku and sharpen in horse and kisage (knife).

    Process 9: Dharma charge account

    When we attach adhesive to axis and have Dharma doll, it is the axial completion.

    Match axis with spike afterwards; is worked.

    Process 10: File

    We attach adhesive to axis and fit spike and fix well.

    Process 11: Finish

    We remove extra paste while winding thread after having fully soaked spike with paste, and turning axis. We dry if we fix form of spike and have cap.

    Process 12: Signature sculpture

    We carve signature with triangle sword in axis and color the part in color

    Process 13: Completion

    One writing brush is completed in this way.

  • Close-up

    Quiet Traditional Craft and craftsman of quiet town

    Writing brush of here Kumano-cho is town of the literally best writing brush accounting for 80% in nation-wide amount of production in Japan. There are approximately 1,500 engineers made with writing brush called "hitsushi" now. Above all, for 40-50 years, "Master of Traditional Crafts" to work on solely for the making of writing brush is experts of the making of writing brush dealing with special order product of person of nation-wide calligraphy.


    Quiet, stern writing brush Osamu Tsukasa line

    We heard story from Toshiro Nakagawa who was one of the Master of Traditional Crafts. "Originally, in reason jake where it was in production center where result that land was not large, and there was employment in basin in Kumano-cho, and work did not have hitting, and made writing brushes earnestly was number one in Japan." and Hiroshima dialect who did falteringly, Nakagawa has begun to say. It might be said that mother made writing brushes in my wife by chance and we left school and were apprenticed to immediately neighboring Meiji-born "expert". As for the teacher, pupils work by model-learning after telling by the preparation of work generally. We merely make writing brush earnestly every single day from 8:00 a.m. without Sunday on Saturday. And by one process has teacher confirm workmanship (we have approximately 70 processes for the making of writing brush). "No use" "is to gen warerukene for sonotambini, teacher. It is desperate to become good, and to go for the next process. Though four people might be apprenticed together in those days at the same period, teacher, "hand paints with you, is not good, stopping" is to for one of the inside in a few minutes. In other words, the fingers are sounding out setoiukotonanjane by life gadekinken, different work by writing brush. The person does not come from the next day; won. We think that it did love to tell that we have a modest talent early when it is young now if we think. Teacher nisonaini not to be said while being always tense writing brush tsukuttottayone."

    Toshiro Nakagawa who reaches ray, 49th year made with writing brush in this year

    "Yes, learn condition ininatchoru, this, and let's cut"

    We finished four years of the severe ascetic practices era, and the next aim of Nakagawa who stood on the own feet was "the making of writing brush which had master satisfy". For the next around ten years, we concentrated on only it. However, time when trial and error not to have, "well," teacher of the calligraphys that writing brush which said of assent was master readily praise by oneself suffered mental anguish was over. And one day Toiya said in this way. Saying it is saying "Nakagawa, that famous teacher tell", "yes, to learn condition ininatchoru, this, and to cut". "We were already glad. We thought that it was good to do the making of writing brush heartily. oshichoruyonamonyo and Nakagawa who work to still hear word.
    And it is admitted, and, with love and will, writing brush which first-class craftsman toward manufacturing made is used for the first-class calligraphys and first-class book is completed. ・As it is ・ ・ such a thing, there is.

    "Yaoi as for the recent hair"

    Such Nakagawa continues. Animal hair which is raw materials which "it may be what recent hair is too good and cannot suffer", I mean import the most from Chugoku softens and is that it became hard to accept order of teacher hoping for chewy writing brush. Being problem in economy that we cannot wait for until beast grows up whether cause is problem on environment where "bait" has turned into so that state of animal hair changes in comparison with old days or ... Cause is not sure, but in any case animal hair which is not able to stand eyes of first-class craftsman decreases. In addition, Kumano Fude is affected by the import of cheap writing brushes from foreign countries. "jakedo, to Nakagawa "I do not lose (do not lose). The last is game jakene of "arm". Love and technique for tradition made with power of observation to ascertain the best raw materials and writing brush of this Kumano-cho and writing brush. gancho rukeene as for me." Nakagawa talked so while staring at field mustard of garden with gentle look.

    Wonderful counterattack of Nakagawa at home workshop

    Craftsman profile

    Toshiro Nakagawa

    It was born in January 11, 1936.
    We are engaged in the making of writing brush from 16 years old and reach the 49th year in this year. In December, 1981, we are authorized by Master of Traditional Crafts.


    The history made with writing brush

    We do not know the correct time when the making of writing brush began in clearly, but letter considered to have used writing brush for former spicule in the Yin times (pre-about 1600 ... pre-1,028 years) is left, and it is said that there was already writing brush in the time. In addition, Fumi considered to have already drawn on terminal colored earthenware with writing brush in Neolithic era stays. The world's oldest writing brush which exists so (?of the Chugoku age of civil strife It is "Changsha writing brush" discovered in remains of) for ... pre-223 years. It tears the tip of narrow bamboo axis of approximately 16 centimeters and catches hair of rabbit and ties up with thread and is hardened with lacquer. In addition, "Kyoen writing brush" discovered with narrow strip of wood with message of Han charges does one end of tree of approximately 21 centimeters axis for division into four and is 1.4 centimeters of high writing brushes of completeness that we inserted spike in.

    It is said that writing brush was made in Japan in the Daiho year (701-714 years), but the existing oldest writing brush is 17 brushes with a colored thread wound holder made with rabbit, deer in Shoso-in, hair of raccoon dog.
    The sky sea which was expert of book lets writing brush artisan, slope name well Kiyokawa make four raccoon dog writing brushes (for kai, line, grass, copying of a sutra) by brush handling of Tang made for 812 years, and there is record that we gave to the Emperor. At this time, writing brush came to be made in each place from Kanto to Kyushu. In the Edo era, writing brush of high quality came to be made as side job of the family flourishingly.

    It will be approximately 170 years ago now at the end of the Edo era, and beginning made with writing brush of Kumano is after. We could not finish supporting life only with agriculture, and, in Kumano whom there was little of farmland, most of farmers appeared to migrant worker in those days in the slack season for farmers. Destination is the Kishu (Wakayama) Kumano district and the Yamato (Nara) Yoshino district mainly. It was usual to return to Kumano while dropping in at Nara when we finished working away from home, and stocking writing brush and sumi, and peddling. This was a chance, and Kumano and ties of writing brush were born.
    *々mokuiji and otsuganjota (Taro that the sound-maru is the way goes) learn the making of writing brush from goyohitsushi of Hiroshima feudal clan in country (Hyogo) Arima of Settsu again, and youth called Osamu Inoue flat (Yasuke Inoue) returns and is informed just at that time when we spread the making of writing brush to villager. The making of writing brush was taken in as new industry in particular industrial Kumano whom there was not in those days, and did the basics as production center by effort and passion of villagers, and the superior technique passed through 170 years; is uninterrupted and is still inherited.


Industrial art object name Kumano Fude
Phonetic symbol Writing brush of bear
Classification of industrial art object Writing tools and Abacus
Main product Writing brush, drawing pen, makeup writing brush
Main production area Hiroshima / Kumano-cho, Aki-gun
The designation date May 10, 1975

Contact information

■local production associations

Kumano Fude business cooperative association
3-13-19, Nakamizo, Kumano-cho, Aki-gun, Hiroshima
TEL: 082-854-0074
FAX: 082-854-6790

■Associated exhibit space, facility


General calligraphy expert use for schoolchild produces writing brushes which people working hard at calligraphy expect widely and makes special writing brush depending on order each.

A wide variety of brushes is produced for everyone wishing to practice calligraphy, from school children and general users to calligraphy experts, as well as special brushes made to individual specifications.

How to make

We choose hair and put hair which we chose together. We rub hair with ash and pull oil content and we prepare to necessary length and cut and we mix hair well and make core (believe). If we wind wool like batter outside of core and we tighten the root with thread and bake, spike is completed. We harden with charge account, paste centering on spike and engrave finish, signature and are completion. We use goat, horse, deer, raccoon dog, weasel, hair of cat for raw materials of spike. Choice hair is important process to become foundations made with writing brush, and there is not writing brush which should get a wrong how to choose.

The hairs are first selected and then combined together. The hair is rubbed with ash to remove any oil, cut to the required length, mixed and bundled into a core. The hair is wrapped around the outside of the core like a garment and tied at the base, thus completing the neck. The neck is then glued on to the shaft, and the brush is completed by engraving an inscription. For the neck, hairs of goats, horses, deers, raccoons, weasels and cats are used. The very important hair selection stage is the base of the brush-making process and no good brushes are possible if the wrong choices are made.