When we prepare Matcha, a bamboo whisk known as a chasen is a must.
Takayama town, Nara in Japan is its birthplace where most people have been devoted to the amazing work of producing them. The process to complete a chasen is tremendously hard and long, which is partly to be seen at the Bamboo Garden and Museum in the town.
The long work starts from the preparation of materials. 2 or 3-year-old bamboos are usually selected. After harvested, bamboos are boiled to remove oils, and dried outside during January and February. Then, they have to be stored for more than a year, preferably, more than three years with attentive care in order to make the best quality products. It has already been many years only for the preparation for materials.
At last, artisans set to their hands making the shape of the chasen. The picture (left) shows the process of their work.
A leaflet issued by the museum says, “The head of a tea whisk may have as many as 60 to 120 split fibers, depending on the school and the utilization of materials. Each of the fibers is carefully split with a small blade. If a single fiber is mistakenly cut, the whisk is ruined. This delicate work continues to produce fine products and can truly be called a traditional handcrafting art.”