Japanese Umbrella

Japanese Umbrella

Japanese umbrella is a very tasteful, but it is a few that people regularly using it.
It exists from ancient times in Japan, and there are various kinds.
This Umbrella goes well with Kimono, also be used as an interior.
In wedding (ceremony) according to Shinto rites, Japanese Umbrella is used as a popular item.

Japanese umbrella's frames are made of bamboo for the most part.
Oiled papers is used as their canopy.
They are painted persimmon tannin, linseed oil, tung oil and so on for waterproof.

Japanese Umbrella

Western-style umbrella has few frames. However, most of Japanese one has several dozens of frames.
Because it is different how to open Western-style and Japanese. The construction of Japanese umbrella is that it's bamboo support it's frames and papers. It's not like Western-style's.
That's why Japanese one has a character that it's oiled papers are folded up inside automatically when you close it.

Japanese umbrella has a few kinds; Ban-gasa, Janome-gasa, Nodate-gasa (Tsumaore-gasa) and so on.



Bangasa is a common type among Japanese umbrella.
It gives beefy and durable impression.
Because of that, this umbrella for the masses goes well with male putting on kimono.

The reason called "Ban-gasa" is said as follows. Umbrella craftsman was stamped(BAN) to self-made umbrella. Another reason is that umbrella to lend at inn was numbered(BAN).

bangasa for accompany court noble

In Osaka, to distinguish between the master-servant relationship, Bangasa for attendant was edged in black.

In Kyoto, umbrella for accompany is three lines pattern when closed as everyone can see at a glance who accompany court noble.

In both cases, the master was an umbrella of golden brown or dark brown and thicker than Janomegasa.


"Janome" means a snake's eye.
When you look at an opening the umbrella from under it, it look like a snake's eye.

Janomegasa Jyanomegasa

Most popular of Janome-gasa is; the center and the edge is blue and the between them is white. It has many color variations such as coloring astringent juce and black only the outside. Solid color of umbrella is also called Janome-gasa these days.

It has a famous song "AMEFURI" in Japan.


Rain is falling
Mom will be bring
her umbrella to keep me dry
Happy am I!

You understand that Japanese usuall have used Janome-gasa since Edo-period. Additionally, this is more classic than the others Japanese umbrellas.



Have you ever seen Japanese tea ceremony outside?
That situation is called Nodate.
So that Nodate-gasa is a big umbrella that people use when they do tea ceremony.
The umbrella is bigger than other umbrellas; the diameter is 170cm (about 5.6ft), the height is 210cm (about 6.9ft).

People also use it at shrines, temples, some restaurants and hotels.
First, the umbrella had used for an aristocrats and a high priest and the tip is curved not to hurt them.
That why it is called Tsumaore-gasa "a umbrella curving the tip".

History of Japanese Umbrella

jyanomegasa Japanese Umbrella

In Eastern, a umbrella is invented as a talisman.
Then, one is started to make for the aristocrats.
The umbrella couldn't open and close.
After that, it had spread to Paekche where had influence in west coast of Korean peninsula.
Then they were imported from Seong-wang to Japan in 552.
They were used as a kind of tool for a Buddhist ceremony and were called kimu-gasa meaning silk-hat.

Nodategasa Japanese Umbrella

Then, they were improved by progress of paper technology and skill of bamboo ware in Heian period (794-1185 CE).
In Muromachi period (1333-1573 CE), they got a special quality that the Japanese paper was made waterproof with oil and were used by people some to recent years.
Artisans who make umbrellas were appears and advances the skill.

After then, Ruson Sukezaemon imported an umbrella opened with pottery from Luzon, Philippines in Azuchi-Momoyama period (1558-1600 CE).
That's why it was widely spread in Edo period (1603-1868 CE).

Japanese Umbrella make 1 Japanese Umbrella make 2 Japanese Umbrella make 3 Japanese Umbrella make 4
Nodategasa Japanese Umbrella

The stick has been short since Genroku era (1688-1704) and Buddhist priests and doctors have used Janome-gasa.
And then, people had started a business that they lent an umbrella putting the shop mark and name using the wide of it opening when rain days and customer gave publicity to the shop.
In addition, it has been used as properties of Kabuki.
The more it was spread, the more the manufacturing process was divided and some of Samurai who lost job had made these as side job in Edo period.

Japanese Umbrella

However the use of Japanese umbrellas have rapidly decreased because of the spread of Westerns since the Meiji period.
These days, Japanese umbrella have not been carried but fixed at some places where tourists can lent it and use for sunshade at the front.

We hope that people who like Japanese culture and charm would understand the good quality of the Japanese umbrella.