I visited the workshop of Kubo Komakichi Shouten, located in Takayama, Nara Prefecture, known as the village of Chasen artisans, to observe the process of Chasen (tea whisk) making.
I was welcomed by Kubo Tatehiro-san, a traditional craftsman, along with his wife and mother.
It seems that Chasen has been traditionally crafted through a division of labor between husband and wife. The husband is responsible for tasks such as "Hegi", "Kowari", and "Ajikezuri", while the wife's role includes "Menitori", "Shimonami" and "Kaminami", "Koshinarabe", and "Shiage". Each process requires meticulous and delicate work. However, the most crucial step in Chasen making is said to be "Ajikezuri," where the tip of the split bamboo is soaked in hot water to soften it, and then the backside of the bristles is shaved to a thickness similar to that of Japanese washi paper.
Regarding the wife's role in tying the bristles, it seems that Chasen with colorful threads has become popular recently. They also offer customization options, and I have placed an order for versions inspired by the German, French, and Italian national flag colors. Once they arrive, I will share them, so please look forward to it.