Visit Japan House London this summer to browse a display of crafts made from Mōsō Bamboo (Phyllostachys edulis).
Mōsō Bamboo can be found across the length of Japan from north to south. This large species can grow up to 18cm in diameter and 22m in height. Originally from China, it became widespread in Japan after Satsuma clan lord Shimazu Yoshitaka first planted a strain he had obtained from Ryūkyū (present-day Okinawa) in 1736. Bamboo cultivation began in the Mabi area of Okayama Prefecture in the 1930s. The suitability of the soil led to the area becoming known for producing high-quality bamboo shoots.
The thick-walled, flexible and easy-to-process bamboo is used in the construction, agriculture and fishing industries, as well as for hand crafts. Takenoko (bamboo shoots) are edible and the outer skin of bamboo, which has antibacterial properties, is used to wrap food.
Bamboo grows quickly and is ready for use after just three to five years. It reproduces without the need for replanting and is effective at absorbing carbon dioxide. It is a highly sustainable material.
Guests to Japan House London can see a step-by-step display of bamboo preparation, from the longitudinal split through to lamination and completion. A range of Mōsō Bamboo crafts is also available to buy in the Shop.