Traditional Crafts of Tokyo 東京の伝統工芸品Traditional Crafts of Tokyo 東京の伝統工芸品

Edo Wazao

Edo Wazao Photo

Edo townspeople sought out an Iki spirit, even for in fishing gear.
The Japanese predilection for eating fresh fish has always made fishing a popular public activity, with the result that the craft of designing and making fishing rods developed to a high level. Specifically, in the Tokyo area, which borders the Pacific Ocean and is traversed by many rivers, a wider variety of fishing rods have been manufactured than in other areas. It is no exaggeration to say that Edo Wazao (bamboo fishing rods), including Ishidai-zao (rod for parrot fish), Kurodai-zao (rod for black porgy), and Yamame-zao (rod for landlocked salmon), come in as many types as there are kinds of fish. Rods are primarily tailor-made with importance placed on adjusting the processes according to the size of and required force for target fish types. A rod is manufactured using the following processes, which determine the quality: the Kiri-kumi (cutting and combining) processes where bamboo is dried for at least three years before cutting in consideration of the different quality of each part, and the Hi-ire (burning) process to make the bamboo stronger. Being made of natural material, the finished products become more serviceable with use. Fishermen are also attracted by the dual values of practicability and artistic quality arising out of Urushi (Japanese lacquer) decorations and metal carvings on the handles. Not intended to compete with carbon fiber rods, these products realize agreeable fishing through their carefully calculated flexibility to absorb the fighting force of the fish. That is why the Edo Wazao appeals to fishermen around the world.
Edo Wazao Association
Address: 11-14, Minamisenju 5-chome, Arakawa-ku, Tokyo