Home WORLD Crafting Traditional Japanese Kumano Brushes 200-year-old Craft

Crafting Traditional Japanese Kumano Brushes 200-year-old Craft

Visit Tokuzen Sanemori, and chances are you will find him seated on the floor of his workshop making Kumano brushes entirely by hand.

source/image: Great Big Story

Sanemori is one of less than 20 people in the city of Kumano, Japan, practicing the nearly 200-year-old craft. He was taught the craft by his father, and uses traditional tools, techniques and an ample supply hair—from goat hair to horse hair—to make the prized implements.

A total of 80% of brushes produced in Japan come from Kumano, but the materials are all imported from either overseas or neighbouring prefectures.

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Kumano has a very interesting history with brush making. In the past, the city used to buy brushes and ink from Nara and sell them to locals. This was an extra income in addition to the rice plantations. Hiroshima-prefecture encouraged this activity, and Kumano started to produce its own brushes.