Kantake Shinichi, the schools headmaster, and I, standing in front of a wall of sample weavings.

The Bamboo vocational arts training center is in Oita, the Southern part of Japan. It was decided to establish the school in that part of Japan and make Oita the bamboo capital of Japan because of the demand for bamboo baskets by visitors to the hotsprings. It started out as a one year school and has become a two year school. Next door is the Oita prefecture Beppu industrial arts research center, which is a one year school. It is a very competitive school and there are several qualifications that need to be met in order to get into the school. They only accept 12 students a year. Six people are from Oita only. They can be straight out of high school and are accepted with no test if they have recommendations. Without recommendations an Oita high school student planning to graduate must have passed the test.The other six people are chosen from a pool of applicants who are unemployed or looking for work and can pass the test. If someone drops out the school may accept someone from outside the Oita area. There might be more qualifacations needed that I do not know of, but I have learned that an applicant must be 39 years old or younger when applying.


I first visited the bamboo showroom, where there are hundreds of objects made from bamboo, both traditional and modernly innovative.

There is a small section of the space devoted to recent graduates work, along with their name and some contact information.

A recent graduates work displayed.

There was so much to learn just from looking at the samples in the showroom. I felt humbled to be surrounded by so much beautiful handmade bamboo work.

After receiving a tour of the showroom I was taken to the classroom, where I was invited to stay for the day and learn along with the students. I was already thrilled to be at the school. Being able to sit in on a class was beyond my wildest dreams. In my next post I will share about my visit with the students