Paper umbrellas have been used in Japan for centuries primarily as a means of shade from the sun. It wasn’t until only a few hundred years ago that they began implementing the similar design to provide shelter from the rain as well.
These umbrellas were originally made as canopy-like silk-lined fixtures that originated in China. Both paper and silk umbrellas have been extensively used in Asia for centuries and have become symbols of Asia to many in Western countries. A symbol of the parasol is seen in art made by Buddhists that represent Buddha’s royalty and his history.
Like the Chinese, Japanese umbrella producers use only natural materials when making their umbrellas and each one takes several months’ time to complete due to the separate rigorous processes involved. There are several different kinds of craftsmen that are active in producing each umbrella including woodworkers, paper specialists, and artists.
Paper umbrellas are primarily bought by collectors in order to use them for decoration for their home or office as well as for special occasions such as fine photography, stage plays, and elaborate costumes.