There’s a long tradition of making oil-paper umbrellas in Yodoe, a city in the Tottori Prefecture of Japan. The process involves over 70 steps, crafted on a variety of specially-made tools by skilled artisans, including harvesting and drying the bamboo, cutting the pieces to size, assembly, laying washi paper across the frame, waterproofing, and decorating with paint and fine strings. Learn more from the Google Cultural Institute in Japanese and in English:

The story of Yodoe umbrellas began in 1821 when Kurayoshiya Shuzo arrived in Yodoe from Kurayoshi and first opened an umbrella shop. The specialized production was further refined in 1881 when the celebrated umbrella craftsman, Nishi Kinzo of Tsuyama was summoned to Yodoe to provide instruction…

Yodoe is surrounded by forests of bamboo, the main material for Yodoe umbrellas. Their existence aided Yodoe in becoming a major production site for umbrellas.

Also, what?! Bamboo is a grass, not a tree.

Next: The art of Japanese marquetry, How Kanazawa gold leaf is made, incredible Amezaiku candy animal sculptures, and making a traditional Japanese wooden Kokeshi Doll.

via Digg.

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