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New Designation of Gifu Wagasa as Traditional Craft under the Act on the Promotion of Traditional Craft Industries

March 18, 2022

On March 18, 2022, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) newly designated the following craft as a traditional craft as defined in the Act on the Promotion of Traditional Craft Industries (hereinafter called the Act"): Gifu Wagasa (paper umbrellas.)

 1. New designation of a traditional craft

Concerning the new designation of the Gifu Wagasa, on January 31, 2022, the Traditional Craft Designation Subcommittee of the Manufacturing Industry Committee under the Industrial Structure Council held discussions on the craft and decided to newly designate it as a traditional craft. On March 18, 2022, this designation was announced by a public notice and the craft has been listed accordingly as an item designated by METI. The number of designated traditional crafts now comes to 237 (for the list of designated crafts, see the appendix).

2. Outline of the newly designated crafts

 (1) Gifu Wagasa

In recent years, the Gifu Wagasa has gained widespread appeal as a personal umbrella and is available in more and more stores nationwide. It has a variety of uses, such as an ordinary umbrella or parasol, a fixed parasol providing a shade for outdoor tea ceremonies, a prop in traditional Japanese dances, festivals at temples and shrines and traditional performing arts as an umbrella with a long handle held by a follower above his master, and a display at Shichi-Go-San or wedding ceremonies.

The production of Gifu Wagasa, made with technology passed down since the Edo period, started in the 17th century. The techniques for making it were established in 1639, and the main raw materials have been passed down since before then.

The umbrellas fold into a distinctive, slim shape (referred to as Hosomono) and are made using excellent technology and rich decorative techniques that have been passed down. They are generally called Gifu Wagasa.

37 craftsmen in 10 workplaces as of November 2021.

Reference: Details of the Act on the Promotion of Traditional Craft Industries

The Act aims to provide rich and affluent lives to the public and contribute to the succession of traditional technologies and techniques to the next generation, as well as to the economic development and creation of employment in various regions across Japan, through the promotion of traditional craft industries. Traditional crafts that are designated* under the Act are subject to various types of promotion policies under it (for excerpts of the related provisions of the Act, see Reference 2).

Note: Five requirements must be satisfied for designation: the craft should be: (1) a daily commodity, (2) handmade, (3) made using traditional technologies or techniques continued for the last 100 years or more, (4) made of raw materials which have been used traditionally, and (5) created in a particular area.

Related Materials

Division in Charge

Traditional Craft Industry Office, Lifestyle Industries Division, Manufacturing Industries Bureau


(Reference 1)
The latest designated crafts
Date of designation Name of craft
November 26, 2014 1. Edo Glass
June 18, 2015 1. Sendai Tansu (Chests), (2) Edo Bekko (Tortoiseshell Crafts), (3) Tokyo Antimony Kougeihin (Antimony Crafts)
January 26, 2017 (1) Owari Butsugu (Buddhist Implements), (2) Nagasaki Bekko (Tortoiseshell Crafts), (3) Haebaru Hana-ori (Flower Patterned Textiles)
November 30, 2017 (1) Oku-Aizu Showa Karamushi Ori (Ramie Textiles), (2) Chiba Koushogu (Artisan Metal Tools), (3) Tokyo Muji Zome (Plain Color Dyeing), (4) Etchu Fukuoka no Sugegasa (Sedge Hats) (5) SANSHU Onigawara Kougeihin (Gargoyle Roof Tile)
November 7, 2018 1. Nara Sumi (Inksticks), (2) Sanshin (Three-stringed Instruments)
November 20, 201 1. Gyoda Tabi (Socks), (2) Edp Oshi-e (Embossed Cloth Pictures), (3) Naniwa Hon Zome (Dyeing)
January 15, 2021 1. Nagoya Sekku Kazari (festival dolls and decorations)

(Reference 2)
Excerpt from the Act on the Promotion of Traditional Craft Industries (Act No. 57 of 1974)

(Designation of Traditional Craft, etc.)
Article 2. METI shall listen to the opinions of the Industrial Structure Council and designate crafts that fall under the conditions in the following items as traditional crafts.
(1) It is primarily used in daily life.
(2) The main part of its manufacturing process is done by hand.
(3) It is manufactured using a traditional technology or technique.
(4) It is manufactured using materials that have been used traditionally as the primary materials.
(5) It is manufactured in a specific region, and the people who manufacture it or engage in manufacturing it are not few in number.

2. Traditional crafts shall be designated as set forth in the previous paragraph and the traditional technologies or skills or traditionally used raw materials and region in which the traditional craft is manufactured shall be stipulated.
3 and 4 (...)
5. In the case of a change in circumstances or other special circumstances (except in the cases set forth in these items.), the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry may change the content of the designation of the traditional craft designated as set forth in Paragraphs 1 and 2 after listening to the opinions of the Industrial Structure Council according to Paragraph 2.