About Chochin (提灯-Japanese lantern)
The Chochin is a portable lighting fixture and traditional craftwork that was uniquely developed in Japan. A candle is set up in a basket made of bamboo with Japanese paper attached to it.
These days, there are Japanese lanterns made of a variety of materials, and many Japanese lanterns are also lit by light bulbs. We can hang it on the end of a stick and carry it around to light up our feet or fold it up when we are not using it.
There are many types of Japanese lanterns, and they are used in many scenes, such as shrine lanterns, Obon(#) lanterns (lanterns that are displayed when making offerings to ancestors), lanterns in front of shops, and samurai dramas on TV.
(#) Obon is a traditional Japanese event to welcome the sprits of ancestors and observed from August 13th to August 16th.
About the beginning of Chochin
It is said that the origin of Japanese lantern was “Sageru Hi(Sageru = 提げる, Hi = 灯)”, which is used as a light under the entrance of a house and as a light in the hand.
Originally introduced from China, “Kago lantern” were used in the Muromachi period (1336-1573), when paper was attached to a bamboo basket.
By the end of the 16th century, lanterns that could be folded up were available. By attaching paper to the spiral-wrapped bamboo belly, it can be folded up and down.
We can hang it on the end of a stick and carry it around to light up our feet or fold it up when we are not using it. It also became a big boom in the Edo period, because of its lightness and convenience. They came in various shapes and sizes in various places.
One of the more famous ones is the Odawara Chochin. It was a long, thin cylindrical shape, and when folded up, the top and bottom overlap to make it smaller, so it was useful for carrying.
About the current use of Chochin
Nowadays, there are traditional Japanese lanterns as well as highly original and unique Japanese lanterns.
We believe that the valuable creation of lanterns will continue in the future.