Welcome to the Shonan Wagasa eiyu Studio!
‘Wagsa’ is the term for the handmade oiled paper umbrellas used in Japan since the 14th century. Originally imported from China, the idea of using paper, bamboo, and oil to create umbrellas was extensively refined by succeeding generations of master craftsmen, reaching its zenith during the Edo Period. Wagasa were common in Japan until the end of WWII, when imported western umbrellas made of synthetic materials replaced the traditional umbrellas. Where once there were hundreds of shops scattered throughout the archipelago, wagasa shops and the craftsmen that plied their trade within have dwindled to the point where there are but a handful left in the entire country.
Wagasa are very environmentally friendly, being made of all natural renewable resources, and possess an innate beauty that captures the elegance of a bygone era. Although wagasa are often considered an example of fine art, and can be found in museums and high-end shops, they are in fact durable items intended for daily use. With care an umbrella can last for twenty years; damage to the paper can often be repaired, lengthening the service life as well. Japanese umbrellas function very well as sun shades in addition to the usual rain duty they see, casting soothing light on the user while protecting him/her from UV rays. Wagasa craftsman Hidenori Sugizaki invites you to consider making a Japanese umbrella part of your life, sharing a daily tradition that stretches back seven centuries.