The area around Beppu (in Oita Prefecture) has historically had an abundance of high quality bamboo. Bamboo craft production began in earnest during the Muromachi period (1336-1573), when bamboo baskets were made for peddlers to carry their wares.
In the Edo period (1603-1868), many people came to Beppu for its famous hot springs, and bamboo rice baskets and strainers were sold to the visitors as souvenir items, greatly expanding the market for the craft. In 1902, the Beppu Technical Apprentice School was established with the aim of cultivating the local bamboo craft. This laid the foundation for the Beppu bamboo craft industry.
The Oita Prefectural Bamboo Crafts Training Center which opened in 1938 is the only technical school in Japan focusing on bamboo crafts. It aims to nurture the next generation of bamboo artisans.
Today, Beppu bamboo artisans mainly use timber bamboo and moso bamboo to make various items, including art objects, flower baskets, fruit baskets, bags, fashion accessories, as well as lamps and other interior decor.
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