About 80 percent of all Japanese brushes—painting brushes, calligraphy brushes and makeup brushes—are hand-made in the small town of Kumano.
Fudenosato Kobo calligraphy brushes have been famous since the mid-19th century, when a few local men began improving upon the brush designs they had seen in other towns. Kumano quickly became known as the best producer of brushes, and when Japan mandated schooling in the 1870s, the little town was busy producing brushes for all the writers who needed them.
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