Miyagawa Hake Brush Seisakusho was established by Shojiro Miyagawa in 1921 in Asakusa in the Taito ward, in Tokyo.
“Since I was a kid, I grew up watching the manufacturing of Hake brushes (A Traditional Japanese Brush with a Flat Wooden Handle) and other brushes and also helped with the production. I was concerned about my parent’s old age so I inherited the business 20 years ago.” Said Kumiko Miyagawa who works as a 3rd generation craftsmen in the present day. Never changing the method since established, she makes Tokyo Teue handmade brushes and Edo-style Hake brushes products at the same place.
The Hake brush that the 1st generation made was the first body brush in Japan, the 2nd generation can make many kinds of products such as static electricity discharging brushes which received the Task Monozukuri Grand Prize, shoe brush, clothes brush, toothbrush, drawing brushes, brush for plasterer, hake brush for gold lacquer and cooking and more.
For brush production, firstly put the mold made by craftsman themselves onto a wood grain, apply ink to the area that will implant with the hairs and make holes with a unique drill that has been passed down from generation to generation. Also do the waterproofing process in this step. Then, put the hairs into open holes with an original method, crimp wires that poke out at the back of the wood grain and flat it then cover with lid. Nailing there and fix the lid with wood grain.
Polish up until there is no uneveness between wood grain and lid. Finally, do trimming off the hair’s length using a process called “Karikomi” and then it is finished.
“According to a decrease in the number of craftsman who make materials and have a material shortage, it is hard to continue making Hake and brushes with the same materials as we used in the old days.” Miyagawa told us. For the brush’s wood, we had used “Ho” or magnolia obovate but it becomes difficult to acquire it recently, so we use various woods such as chestnut trees. Horse and pig hairs are used separately. Horse hair is used to make body brushes, woodblock brushes and more depending on parts you use such as horsetails or mane. For pig hair, it is suitable for cloth brushes and shoe brushes. We use hair separately for different purposes.
Products that are made by a craftsman’s careful operation, can be used for a long time. Depending on the product, you can use it more than 10 years until it is recommended that you buy a new one to replace it. It seems normal to receive an order again after 10 years. You can purchase Miyagawa Hake Brush Seisakusho’s main products at her shop or some of her other works at the Edo Shitamachi Traditional Crafts Museum (Asakusa, Taito-ku, Tokyo) and Takumi no Hako at Ueno 2k540 beneath the elevated railway tracks)
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Miyakawa Hake Brush Manufacturing Co.,Ltd.