There’s no doubt about it — a colorful yukata (light cotton kimono) accessorized with a flat uchiwa fan says “summer.”
As with many traditional Japanese goods, uchiwa differ in their design between Edo and Kyoto. In Kyoto, Kitayama cedar is used; the fans of Edo are made of bamboo.
Also, with Edo-uchiwa the paper or cloth is applied to reveal the underlying frame. Today, only a handful of artisans, working in Tateyama, Chiba Prefecture, remain who carry on the special craft of handle and frame design.
True to the spirit of Edo, the motifs are bold and simple, with stripes and grids prevailing. When tucked into the yukata obi sash at a jaunty angle, they complete the season’s cool, carefree look.
This is the second of a four-part series on ryo that focuses on traditional ways to mitigate the heat of a Japanese summer.