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Olympics Uchiwa Fans Depicts How Modern Sports Be Like In The Edo Era

Olympics uchiwa fans

Even though the 2020 Tokyo Olympics has ended, some of us are still not over the epic sports moments that made us shiver with excitement even amidst the sweltering summer heat. Speaking of the Olympics and summer heat, these Olympics uchiwa fans by Komaruya Sumii will ensure that you remain cool while reminiscing about the Games.

Sports uchiwa fans by Komaruya Sumii

Komaruya Sumii is a store, located in Kyoto, that specialises in making and selling traditional handcrafted Japanese fans called Kyomaru uchiwa. Recently, the store released a limited number of Kyomaru uchiwa featuring Edo era athletes doing modern Olympic sports drawn in ukiyo-e-style.

Olympics uchiwa fans - surfing
Edo athlete surfing on The Great Wave Off Kanagawa
Image credit: Komaruya Sumii

The design on this uchiwa was inspired by the famous The Great Wave Off Kanagawa ukiyo-e woodblock print. It makes you wonder if there is any athlete out there today who dares to surf on this fierce wave.

Olympics uchiwa fans - rugby
A Japanese aristocrat tossing a rugby ball
Image credit: Komaruya Sumii

Kemari, a game that is similar to hacky sack, is perhaps the closest representation of what rugby would be like if it existed in Edo Japan. It would definitely be interesting to see aristocrats brawling it out in a game of rugby while wearing their classy robes.

Olympics uchiwa fans - skateboarding
Edo athlete skateboarding on a wooden halfpipe
Image credit: Komaruya Sumii

The design of this uchiwa was inspired by a ukiyo-e woodblock print called Bishu Fujimigabara, but with a little twist. It shows an aristocrat skateboarding on a wooden skateboard halfpipe, instead of a man building a bathtub.

Olympics uchiwa fans - weightlifting
A sumo wrestler lifting a barbell
Image credit: Komaruya Sumii

It’s fun to think about how different sumo wrestling would be if weightlifting was a sport in Edo Japan, since both sports require incredible strength. The sumo wrestler depicted in this uchiwa is Yoshihide Asahina Saburo, a character in kabuki – a form of Japanese performance with singing and dancing – during the Edo period.

Olympics uchiwa fans - various ball sports
Edo athletes playing various ball sports
Image credit: Komaruya Sumii

If modern ball sports, such as volleyball, basketball, tennis, badminton, and handball existed in Edo Japan, the athletes’ uniform would surely look fancier than the ones in the modern era.

About Komaruya Sumii

Olympics uchiwa fans - komaruya sumii
Image credit:
Komaruya Sumii

The history of the Komaruya Sumii store can be traced all the way back to the late 1500s, when the Sumii family was tasked by the emperor to craft uchiwa – traditional Japanese fans crafted using bamboo and paper – for the imperial court.

Olympics uchiwa fans - uchiwa fans
Image credit:
Komaruya Sumii

The uchiwa, however, only started gaining popularity in the 1600s, when it became readily available to the common people.

Olympics uchiwa fans - ogi
Image credit:
Komaruya Sumii

Apart from uchiwa, Komaruya Sumii also makes traditional Japanese folding fans called ogi.

The traditional Japanese fans made by Komaruya Sumii serve as perfect souvenirs or gifts.

Olympics uchiwa fans to cool off your sports fever

If you are still having the Olympic fever, these sports uchiwa fans by Komaruya Sumii will be the perfect thing to use to cool it off. Each of these uchiwa fans costs ¥19,800 (~USD180.23), and you can purchase it online or in stores.

Address: 91-54 Enshoji-cho, Okazaki, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, 606-8344 Kyoto
Opening hours: 10AM-6PM (Closed on Sundays, public holidays)
Telephone: 07-5771-2229

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Cover image adapted from: Komaruya Sumii, Komaruya Sumii and Komaruya Sumii