Meet the Maker: Kurikawa Shoten

Shop Kurikawa Shoten's persimmon dyed Japanese fans.


Founded in 1889, Kurikawa Shoten is the only manufacturer making and inheriting the tradition of Kutami Uchiwa, which has a history of 400 years in Kutami, Kumamoto Prefecture. They are carefully and respectively handmade from persimmon tannin (kakishibu) coated Japanese paper, attached to a bamboo handle.

Following an ancient practice the fans are coated with shibu, a natural persimmon tannin. The fans frame is made from thin bamboo strips, and covered with Japanese washi paper, which is then coated in the persimmon tannins with a brush. It is said that the tannin coating provides protection by repelling insects, and also helping the exterior shift into a beautiful deep patina over time – as persimmon tannin naturally develops with exposure to sun.


The process of preparing kakishibu persimmon tannin is time consuming and rich with history. To begin unripe persimmons are collected, which then pass through various pressing and crushing stages. Tannin is stored in large clay vats for a period of five years to ferment – allowing the tannin to mature with time. After this time is it gently brushed onto the washi paper covered fan.


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