Osaka Kongo Bamboo Blinds
The manufacturing of bamboo blinds in Tondabayashi, at the foot of Mt.
Kongo, began in the Edo era (1600-1868), as the area is blessed with abundant and good quality bamboo.
SUGITA Seiren was founded in the latter part of the Edo era.
The Company mainly makes bamboo blinds for Ise Shrine and other shrines, as well as blinds for tatamimat rooms, the secret of keeping ones cool in the heat of Japan's sumrer.
Making a bamboo blind begins with whittling a piece of bamboo into a thin shaft of less than 2mm in diameter.
There are 15 processes in all, from removing joints and stripping of the outer layer of the bamboo to weaving, making the top and bottom edging and attaching tassels and metal fittings.
Some processes are mechanized, but others must be done by hand.
The edging, for example, requires two people working on the two sides of the blind at the same time, while processes such as matching the bamboo shafts and edging can only be done with the sensibility of an artisan.