JTCO strives for inheritance, creation and development of Japanese traditional culture.
Japanese Traditional Craft Resource Center Category


Japanese Traditional Craft

Craft Category Stationery
Name Unpei-fude: Unpei Writing Ink Brush

Main Production Site:Shiga

Unpei-fude has 27 types of ink brushes totally, such as Tenpyo-hitsu (Jakuto-hitsu), Hitsuryuto maki-fude, Kobodaishiryu-hitsu, Fujiwarateikaky-hitsu, Jyodaiyo-fude, Koetsu-fude, Tofuasonyo-hitsu, and so on. Also, they are categorized into three types of shape :1) General shape 2) Jakuto(sparrow-head) shape 3), and To-maki (rattan coil) shape. Moreover, as for Type 1(General shape), it is divided into three categories depending on the names of the brushes: A) Era, B) Purpose of Use , and C) Famous family style, which are called "maki-fude," and it is originated from the Tang Dynasty of China. In addition, “maki-fude “ have passed down it’s traditional technique of wrapping paper on the neck of the brush into the modern times.

[Traditional Handicraft designated by Shiga Prefecture]
Source: Hankei-do
Translation: Tomoe Ukida, reviewed by Namiko Murakami

Materials Hair of sheep, raccoon dog, weasel, horse, etc.
Crafting Processes The manufacturing process of maki-fude (e.g. Tenpyo-hitsu)

1. Ozime
Bind the root of the brush head with hemp thread.

2. Kamimaki
Wrap the head part of the brush with hand-made Japanese paper

Add thin hair (ornamental hair)to the external side of the head which wrapped in paper

4. Ozime
Bind the root of the brush strongly with hemp thread.

5. Sugekomi
Put an adhesive into the inside of the brush stem and insert the bottom of the brush-head into it

6. Noriire
Infiltrate glue well into the head of the brush, bind it with thread, then adjust it by fingertip

7. Completion
Dry the brush completely and put a sheath (a cap for brushes ) Tenpyo-hitsu is exception
History Unpei-fude has the traditional technique which has been passed down for 400 years.
Unpei-fude began since when the primary Unpei Fujino opened his brush workshop in Kyoto about 400 years ago in the Genna era (1615-1624).
He had patronized by the Imperial Court since then and often delivered the brushes to the head family of Japanese calligraphy, the Arisugawa-no-miya family.
The name of the shop,Hankei-do , was given to the 5th generation Unpei by a court noble, Konoe Yorakuin Iehiro, in the Shotoku era (1711-1715).
In 1887, the 12th generation Unpei received a special order from the Prince, Arisugawa-no-miya Taruhito to make a sambar deer hair brush, showing the picture of the brush 2.2 feet( 67cm) in length, 4.5 inches (12cm ) in diameter, and 8.9 inches (23cm ) in bristle length.
Then he was presented the following phrase,
"Only Fujino could make perfect brushes which retain the traditional technique of my ancestors”

In 1909, the 13th generation Unpei moved the workshop to Tokyo and received orders for the brushes from such renowned clients as former Prime Minister Masayoshi Matsukata, an entrepreneur Kihachiro Okura, calligraphers Tenrai and Shokin Hidai, and Takakage Okayama.
He moved the workshop to the present location after the Great Kanto Earthquake in 1923.
The former Unpei was designated as an Intangible Cultural Property by Shiga Prefecture in 1966 and received the Minister of Labor Award in 1974.
Related URL http://umpei-fude.jp/index.php

◆Exhibition / Showcase
90-6, Adogawacho Kamiogawa, Takashima City, Shiga Pref. 520-1224
Tel: 0740-32-0236 Fax: 0740-32-1921
Opening Hours: 8:30am-6:00pm
Parking: 5 cars (Free)

◆Event Information
By train ... 15 minute walk from JR Kosai Line Adogawa Station in the direction of Toju no sato Bunka Geijutsu Kaikan (Toju no sato Arts and Cultural Hall)
By car ... 60 kilometers north from Meishin Expressway Kyoto-higashi I.C. via National Route 161 (about 1 hour), or 35 kilometers south from Hokuriku Expressway Kinomoto I.C. via National Route 161 (about 50 minutes)

JTCO Newsletter "Delivery of Seasonal Tradition"Experience Japan with you tour guide!Find us@Facebook