Our final interview we have in Tokyo is with Ms Fukatsu who is a maker of the Edo folding fan, another long standing tradition in Japan. Also meeting us is a friend of hers, Ms Kinoshita who runs a very interesting independent website for new craftsmen and women. She very kindly gave me a new set of books she has just published about Japanese crafts.
It was actually a real breath of fresh air to meet and talk to a female master of craft as everyone we have talked to so far has been male. Although in some of our interviews we have seen women doing some of the work it has mainly been men that we have had our meetings with. Just to illustrate this point, one of the first things Ms Fukatsu talked about was the fact that her father (a master of Edo folding fan) did not want her to learn the craft and pass on his skills and instead be a mother and housewive. In defiance she has spent her life dedicated to mastering her craft and making a name for herself. She spent the day showing us her techniques and giving me a lesson on how it is done!
There are heavily patterned lavish gold designs on some folding fans but I like that Ms Fukatsu is inspired by stories and fiction and as she says, her designs are simple but the space around leaves space for the imagination.