Maritime TravelerExploring the course of maritime nations through travel, art, culture, environment, heritage, and work.

The Art of Hand Made Traditional Fishing Rods in Japan

Kishu Herazao are bamboo fishing rods produced in Hashimoto City, Wakayama Prefecture and are for catching herabuna, the Japanese crucian carp. Koya-chiku, madake, and yadake bamboos are cut, left to dry for several years and then carefully assessed. There are 130 stages of handwork to make one fishing rod, from cutting through to bamboo assembly and finish, all of which are carried out by one artisan. The characteristic features of Kishu Herazao are the thick handle beautifully decorated and colored with lustrous urushi (lacquer), and the namitsugi jointing technique to prevent the rod from breaking. It is worth noting as rods can be made of three to five bamboo sections each measuring about 90 cm in length, there are considerable stresses and strains when landing a carp and rods must be both strong and flexible.

Kishu-Herazao Craftsman: 辰川 英輝 – Tatsukawa Hideki

Kishu-Herazao Master Craftsman: 城 英雄 – Jō Hideo

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I started this blog because I enjoy discovering new places and sharing my discoveries with others. I was raised on the Great Lakes on the Door Peninsula of Wisconsin in the shipbuilding community of Sturgeon Bay. In the 60's National Geographic Magazine called Door County the Cape Cod of the Midwest. That means for me, being on and around the water, boats, shipyards, sailing, recreation, and heritage is hardwired in my DNA. Nearby Green Bay is older than many east coast cities after all thanks to the voyages of French Canadia fur traders.

In much the same way that the Great Lakes were once the frontier explored and fought over by Americans, English, French and the indigenous peoples of First Nations this blog is about frontiers. The frontiers where heritage, cultures, travel, exploration, recreation, and arts intersect and express themselves in countless coastal communities. Here we hope to capture some of those stories.

Sam is a trained Historica Archaeologist having worked for Colonial Williamsburg and many other museums. A Folklorist, Maritime Historian, Photographer and Museum Director he consults with organizations across the country.
Graduate Studies in Anthropology and Historical Archaeology, The College of William and Mary, Williamsburg VA
Graduate Studies in Labor History, Vernacular Architecture, and American Material Culture, University of Delaware, Newark DE
Certificate in Museum Studies, University of Delaware, Newark DE
BA Anthropology, Ripon College, Ripon WI

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