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.
In the old local fishing villages, while the fishermen were out to sea, the women looking after their homes took to manual work of fan-making as a source of income. The number of fan-makers grew to about 1000, and Boshu uchiwa soon became a favorite summer gift, selling as many as 8 million fans a year in the early Showa period. However, with changes in people’s lifestyles, uchiwa became less of a necessity, and the production today has decreased to one tenth. In 2003, Boshu uchiwa was officially designated as a Traditional Craft of Japan.