Akashiya is a true institution in Nara City, with over 380 years of history. The raw material is very important for Nara brushes. Craftsmen use only animal hair. They select the hair for its hardness, softness, elasticity, and flexibility. They also choose hair that can absorb a large amount of ink. Brushes hair come from animals such as sheep, goat, horse, deer, tanuki, weasel, rabbit, or even squirrel.
The manufacturing process involves a traditional technique unique to Nara’s brushes, called nerimaze-ho, or the blending method. Craftsmen dip the hair in water to harden it and decide which hair should be used and in what quantity. They can then obtain the perfect mix that will correspond to the desired characteristics (hard or soft brush for example).
Today, of course, the company manufactures traditional brushes for sumi (ink) calligraphy. But also more modern tools such as fude pens which are a mix between calligraphy brush and pencil. This fude pen is wrapped in a beautiful origami paper with traditional patterns. Perfect for practicing calligraphy without needing all the materials.