Kyudo Notebook: Hemp

There seems to be a whole hemp subculture these days, but all I’m thinking about here are the hemp tsuru. Considering their cost and relatively short lifetime, I began wondering if I could make my own. There isn’t a lot of information available about that. Most of the pages about making tsuru talk about the tsuruwa, or the nakajikake. I went to a hardware store and found some hemp twine of about the right thickness, but… what to do with it? These are the only web documents I’ve managed to find so far:

  • A five-year-old blog entry
  • A even older interesting, but partial, description by the people who make Fuji tsuru. It’s a case study for the use of pine products by Harima, which appears to be a great source of pine resin… 30kg at a time.
  • An interesting page on making the tsuru for people who practice Western archery

I wonder if anyone out there has more information? Someday when I have a lot of time (when will that be?) I’d like to do more of this sort of thing.

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5 Responses to Kyudo Notebook: Hemp

  1. Pingback: Kyudo Notebook: Hemp | Mu | The Hemp Network News

  2. There is a chapter/scene of a tzuru maker making a tzuru from scratch in one of the he ANKF official DVD’s I have them all 5 so I dont remeber what no. DVD, if your interested ill look them over again. Not sure here, but I seem to remember that the material used is actually not hemp, but a bark from a tree, that is hemp like, thus the fibers might be even longer then hemp fibers, looks like it in the dvd.

  3. karamatsu says:

    Thanks very much! Sorry I didn’t see your note earlier. WordPress has this feature where notes get invisibly queued and I didn’t realize it was there! But tree bark, eh? That is good to know. The packages all say hemp (麻), but I guess it could just be a tradition to call the bark by another name. I know the Ainu use the inner bark of trees to make all kinds of things, though I’m not sure about bowstrings.
    I’ll see if someone has the ANKF DVDs. I’ve never seen those, which seems like an oversight. Thanks again for letting me know about this, and if you do happen to watch it again (five DVDs is an awful lot!!) please let me know what you find out!

  4. right.. contact me on FB, and I’m sure we can figure something out.– I’m not too keen on putting e-mail out in public in this day and age..

    but its def. not hemp as we know it in Europe, because a hemp fiber can never reach the length you see in this clip (full length of the tzuru). I’ve read to much to be able to keep track of where i read what…. but also in the older days, they used/mixed in different materials depending on the use. I remember materials like silk, and woman’s hair, probably for the war bows, if you see a stringed yumi in a museum you will always see a black, much thicker tzuru.

  5. karamatsu says:

    Ooops. Sorry I didn’t see this before. I’ll check into this but am kind of stuck since I don’t use FB for the same reason we’re all now reluctant to disclose E-mail addresses. I went to a conference once where one of their team did a presentation on their security. Let’s just say my impression was not positive! But if you happen to know which DVD it is, I might be able to borrow it from our dojo.
    I did read, somewhere, about the various materials woven into the tsuru besides just hemp, at least in the old days. I imagine some had desirable practical properties (silk) while others may have had talismanic value (a woman’s hair). Or both. More to research!
    And apologies again for the delay.

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