Regional Cultural Asset Portal

Maniwa City , Okayama
Related category:
Gama Zaiku (Cattail Crafts) of Hiruzen    

Digest: 3 minutes
Entire story: 40 minutes
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The Hiruzen district is situated on the northern part of Okayama Prefecture. In this area, a craft called Gama zaiku has been passed on for 650 years. Gama or cattail has the property that it is good for retaining moisture and repelling water. Using gama as the raw material, people here have crafted practical folkloric equipment, including panniers, hand baskets, and snow boots, during the agricultural off-season when they are buried in snow. In recent years, however, problems such as a shortage of successors have brought this tradition to face with the danger of discontinuation. In these circumstances, a few craftsmen set up the Kawakami Gama Association and ever since, they have been endeavoring to promote and hand down the skills. It has been designated Okayama Prefectures Local Traditional Handicrafts in 1982 and won the 4th Village Traditional Cultural Award in 2004. Also in 2002, video and DVD recordings of "Gama Zaiku of Hiruzen" were made, depicting the production technique from the point of acquiring raw materials to the creation of the finished product.

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