Situated in the southern part of Chiba prefecture, Boshu enjoys a warm climate. Thin bamboos with long internodes called medake have long grown in this area, especially around present-day cities of Tateyama and Minami Boso, People started using these medake bamboos to make ribs of round rigid fans called uchiwa in the Meiji period. The ribs were sent to Tokyo to be finished and sold as “Edo uchiwa.” However, after the Great Kanto Earthquake, it became difficult to process fans in Tokyo. The wholesalers moved to Tateyama, and since then, the entire fan-making process has come to be done in this area.
One of the characteristics of Boshu uchiwa is using the culm (trunk) of the thin bamboo as it is for the handle. Of the three major producers of uchiwa in Japan, “Kyo uchiwa” of Kyoto has a wooden handle, and “Marugame uchiwa” of Kagawa has a flat handle. In Boshu, a bamboo is cut so that a node comes about one third of the length from the bottom. The culm above the node is split into 64 equal parts to make the ribs, and the culm below the node is used as the handle. The process of making a single uchiwa involves more than 20 steps that require plenty of time and attention.