Hita, set in deep countryside in the west of Oita, is at the centre of northern Kyushu. Serving as…
Takeizaiku is the ages-old craft of weaving bamboo, an innately flexible and robust material, into every day, functional objects for the home and at work. It has also long been used to create utensils for the tea ceremony. Oita is known in Japan for the quality and quantity of the bamboo harvested from groves found throughout the prefecture, and Beppu has grown to be Japan’s pre-eminent centre for takezaiku.
Early in the 19th Century, advanced takezaiku techniques were brought from Osaka and Tokyo, which were then the nation’s major centres of production, to Beppu. With these the local craftsmen began to produce items, such as baskets and flower vases, with a heightened sense of artistry; objects for display rather than just functionality. In the years since takeizaiku has grown from being much more than a craft. Its leading exponents are artists producing work of earthy ruggedness, which celebrate the nature of the raw material, through to intricately and finely woven objets d’art that would not look out of place in the finest modern museum of art. Most recently, Beppu’s takeizaiku artists have fully turned the circle and been developing new avenues for their work in interior design; elegant objects of modern practicality and decoration.
The Beppu Traditional Bamboo Crafts Center is a great place to learn about the development of takezaiku, see some exquisite examples and buy some work.