Diplomas made of Basho-shi by sixth graders in Ogimi, home of Basho-fu and Shikuwasa

Diplomas made of Basho-shi by sixth graders in Ogimi, home of Basho-fu and Shikuwasa

Children making paper on the suketa under the watchful eye of their instructor. (December 10, Ogimi Elementary School)

December 27, 2020 Ryukyu Shimpo

By Ikue Asato


Ogimi – In Ogimi, the home of basho-fu (traditional cloth made from banana fibers) and shikuwasa (Okinawa lime), 29 sixth graders at Ogimi Elementary School made diplomas from basho-shi (paper made from banana fibers) under the direction of the village board of education. This annual activity began four years ago, as part of the village board of education’s lifelong learning program. Starting on December 8, the children spent three days preparing the diplomas they will accept at graduation in March.


On the first day, pupils cut twigs and leaves of the shikuwasa with scissors and then boiled them to make a dye. On the second day, the children peeled basho (musa basjoo bananas) and thinly sliced the peels with a knife. They then boiled the peels, blended them in a blender, and passed the material through a laundry net.


During the kamisuki (paper-making) event, pupils received instruction from the coordinator of the Ogimi Village Board of Education Lifelong Learning Program and from local instructors in the art of making basho-shi. All of the pupils scooped the fibers using a suketa (bamboo frame) to complete the basho-shi. Some children had to try several times in order to get the basho fibers in an even layer on the frame.


Raimon Fukuchi, one of the pupils at Ogimi Elementary School, says, “Cutting the basho into one millimeter strips was hard. I think I got a feel for what I was doing during the kamisuki, and it came out well.”


(English translation by T&CT and Ellen Huntley)


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