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History of Edogawa (Sakurai Family)
Sakurai Fishing Tackle was established in 1888 inTokyo. The founder, Shintarou Sakurai (Also known as Edogawa I), opened a small fishing tackle shop by the Edogawa River with his father, Jisaburou (he originally was dexterous and creative enough to make lots of crafts). While the business prospered, Shintarou, at the age of twelve, became interested in “Wa-zao” (traditional Japanese fishing rod) handmade by “Maestro Saoji”, a famous wa-zao artisan at the time. Saoji used to sell his wa-zao at wholesale to the shop. Thus, while Shintarou sold Saoji`s rods, he also began to intently learn how to make wa-zao by Saoji though Shintarou was not an official pupil. Later, Hiroshi Sakurai, or Edogawa II, opened his own shop at the age of twenty-three in Kanda, a very famous street near Ginza.
Edogawa II was not only a master of fishing but also talented in rod making. Japan being a treasure-trove of high-quality bamboo, he succeeded in exporting mass-produced Japanese style hexagonal split bamboo and cane rods to the United States after WWII. He also continued to manufacture various original Japanese fishing rods using split bamboo, ranging from surf fishing to deep-sea rods. Inspired by the flexibility of the nylon threads by DUPONT Company, he created the world’s-first artificial soft plastic bait, the Sakura Bait. From then on, Edogawa II and III cooperated to develop the basis of atelier Edogawa under the concepts of wa-zao, and decided to call it “Splendid Action”. To this day, the concepts of Edogawa rods are still based on this, though the main materials used in the fishing rods have changed from bamboo to glass fiber or carbon graphite fiber.
About Atelier Edogawa
Many Japanese anglers regard Edogawa II a prodigy of rod crafting for his considerable aesthetic tastes (enhanced through being a sculptor, painter, and magician). He has left great footsteps in the fishing industry. His works were considered artworks, though them being industrial crafts, and Chiyoda-Ward in Tokyo granted him the title of an intangible cultural asset. Edogawa III, being a calligrapher and qigong master, had put much effort into administering the fairness of quality in Japanese fishing rods ever since the National Fishing Rod Fair Trade Conference (former Japan Glass Rod Industrial Society) was found in1956. The Fair Trade Commission of The Japanese Government finally awarded him for his effort representing all the Japanese fishing rod manufactures. Currently, Atelier Edogawa is the only fishing rod brand recognized as Japanese traditional craft manufacture by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. Young Edogawa IV, American footballer, pours his tough energy in export including, China, Hong-Kong, Taiwan and Korea. Edogawa craftsmen also thought out the rod designing method, so called “Blend Magic”, in the balance of composite cushioning glass fiber and sensitive carbon graphite fiber material. By this method, anglers are always favorably impressed with the taste of enjoyable fishing. Also, the method adopts in such as Japan’s “Hera-fishing” (hera is similar to “Crucian Carp”), which high tensile carbon prepreg (Toreyca etc) is required. Those materials are called“Hoso-Karu-Pin (super fine stroke, light, sensitive)”series or “Kongou (named after Japanese term of diamond)”. The actions of those materials gain Japanese anglers` trust.
Wa-zao (basis of our “Splendid Action”)
Wa-zao “和竿” is Japanese Traditional Fishing Rod made by many kinds of bamboo and cane. Its length varies from 90cm to 6m, and there exist from one piece to about 18 pieces. It takes long time and experience to choose the best match of materials to express peculiar actions. Just similar to European fishing, Japanese fishing itself firmly reflects in our culture, such as novels, so we have large variety of games from bitterling to tuna. Thus, large variations of wa-zao exist to correspond all the games. Methods of fishing those games also depend on each region in Japan. In order to enjoy all types of fishing, Edogawa craftsmen also have large variety of fishing rod designs or concepts. Also, wa-zao is well known as highly aesthetic value, being finished with Urushi (100% Vegetable Pure Japanese lacquer). Our prominent urushi painters also plant anglers in rich sensitivity.