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Tokyo Tokogei
(Rattan Craft)

25 Tokyo Tokogei (Rattan Craft)
Main Areas of Manufacture
Adachi Ward, Taito Ward, Toshima Ward
Designation/Certification Dates
July 18th, 1986 (Tokyo Certification)
Traditional Technologies and Techniques
  1. Both heat and steam are used to shape and bend rattan. Various types of equipment are also used.
  2. A bark stripper is used to make incisions rather than cuts in rattan bark. The stems inside are then drawn out and cut into defined sizes.
  3. Maki involves wrapping bark or stem rattan around structural joints in order to strengthen them.
  4. Ami weaving using bark rattan, stem rattan and half-stem rattan is done for purposes of decoration and strengthening in accordance with product uses.
Traditionally Used Raw Materials
Rattan
History and Characteristics

“Rattan” describes a family of palm plants that mainly grow in South East Asia. While being lightweight, strong and offering abundant elasticity, rattan is also said to possess the longest stems of any plant in the world.

Rattan stems are jointed like bamboo. Unlike bamboo, however, they are fibrous rather than being hollow. The diameter of rattan stems ranges from around 2mm to 50mm.

Rattan possesses a hardened outer sheath with long slender leaves. Thorns are also present in places. The tensile strength of rattan is worth special mention, the stems literally being strong enough to sustain the weight of King Kong.

Bamboo is perhaps the most familiar natural material that can be “woven” or “braided” (as part of traditional crafts), however, it does not perform very well when “wrapped” or “tied.” By contrast, wrapping and tying are possible when using rattan.

Rattan also offers superior pliability, it being able to replace bamboo because bamboo cannot be bent or twisted. Rattan can also be “wrapped” and “sewn.”

Rattan is also sometimes used for the edge-wrapping of bamboo baskets.

In the Middle Ages, rattan was used in a range of products. It was used by the military classes in rattan-twined bows and on weapon shafts. It was also used for writing brushes, whistles and flutes.

In the Edo Period (1603-1868), rattan was used in wickerwork baskets, and as a surface material for pillows and sandals. The Meiji Era (1868-1912) saw the appearance of rattan prams and chairs. In the Taisho Era (1912-1926), attention was paid to the sculpting qualities of rattan, while from the early Showa Era (1926-1989), rattan began to be used for household furniture and room accessories. Such developments led to an expanding scope of usage over time.

In modern times, products manufactured from rattan possess an accessible familiarity. In the heat and humidity of the Japanese summer, due to how it feels, in addition to furniture in hotel lobbies and restaurants, rattan is used in a wide variety of locations including private households.

Contact Details
Manufacturing Area
Cooperative Name
Rattan Manufacturing Cooperative Association
Addressc/o Konishi Trading Co. Ltd., 1-30-6
Yanagibashi, Taito Ward, Tokyo 111-0052
Telephone No.03 (3862) 3101
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