THE HISTORY OF THE FUKAKUSA
UCHIWA FAN AND KOMARUYA SUMII
Since the Momoyama period, the abundant bamboo groves in the village of Fukakusa, in the Fushimi area of Kyoto meant mosquitoes were a large nuisance. Gensei Shonin, the priest of the local Zuikoji Temple, created a fan that was slightly taller than the Nara uchiwa fan, designed to keep mosquitoes at bay. A friend of the priest, through a mutual interest in Tanka poetry, was an ancestor of the Sumii family, and he manufactured this "Gensei-style Fukakusa Uchiwa" using real Fukakusa bamboo. This was well-received in Kyoto and the rest of the country. The Sumii family was known as the manufacturer and seller of the "Fukakusa Uchiwa" since 1624, but from around 1660, became the birthplace of the "Gensei-style Fukakusa Uchiwa", a new original product. Gifu prefecture's "Gifu Uchiwa" fans of today initially came from the Komaruya business from a hundred years ago.
In 1812, after generations of continuing the "Komaruya Zentaro" name, the name was officially changed to "Sumii" after the fourth generation, and it was during this time that Mai Ougi dancing fans and Natsu Sensu small summer fans were begun to be sold. After the Pacific War, the eighth generation started specializing in props for Japanese traditional dance, and today, Komaruya provides support for Kyoto's spring geiko and maiko dances, the "Miyako Odori", the "Kyo Odori" and the "Kamogawa Odori", as well as for a variety of different styles of dance performances all over the country.