@55 days until Hiroshima Summit: Kumano Brushes

by Tomoyuki Kada, Staff Writer

The town of Kumano, Hiroshima Prefecture, boasts the nation’s largest production of brushes. In the late Edo period (1603-mid-19th century), farmers who went to the Kansai region (around Osaka) as seasonal workers got training and brought back their skills. In the past, most of the residents of Kumano were involved in brush making in addition to farming.

As the production of calligraphy brushes has declined along with the decrease in the number of people who practice calligraphy, make-up brushes are becoming the town’s main products. These brushes are popular for their smooth feel and ability to spread powder well.

When the Ise-Shima Summit was held in Mie Prefecture in 2016, 4,000 make-up brushes were presented to the press from various countries covering the summit. Ordinarily, artisans make their own brushes independently, but four workshops made the same brushes using the same shape, color, size and high-quality goat hair.

(Originally published on March 25, 2023)