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

Miyakonojo Daikyu

Miyakonojo Daikyu Photo

Closely connected with the history of Kagoshima, there are documents verifying that just after the middle of the 19th century, the making of Miyakonojo Daikyu was a thriving local craft and by the end of the century, many bow makers had been instructed in the craft by two generations of the locally residing Kusumi family. Blessed with plentiful supplies of locally obtainable raw materials, the craft developed and by the 1920s bows were being sold in East Asia. Although there was a fall in demand after World War II, at the height of production there were some 30 bow makers active in the area. It is now the country's only production center for bows, 90% of all bamboo bows being made here. Following an established pattern, there are seven joints of bamboo on the forward face and six on the inner face. Although the shape may differ according to who makes it, a good bow is thought to be one with a perfect balance between its upper and lower portions, and one to which consideration has been given to its center of gravity and the distribution of weight after the arrow has been shot.