“The Japanese paper umbrella may appear as fragile as a butterfly, but in fact it is as strong as the bamboo from which it is made.”
“Japanese umbrellas are always of interest to foreign visitors, so different are they from their western cousins – which the Japanese call komori-gasa, or ‘batlike umbrellas’.
“Kasa are made of bamboo and oiled paper or silk, and are decorated with painted designs. The ribs of kasa are made of split bamboo, and a circular piece of wood, into which they are gathered at the top, allows the kasa to be opened and shut freely. Waterproof paper or silk is stretched over the frame and a bamboo handle is attached. Kasa include umbrellas for rain (ama-gasa) and those for protection against the heat of the sun (kigasa) – parasol-like kasa, lighter than the ama-gasa.
“… The oldest historical record of kasa is that during the reign of Emperor Kimmei (539-571 CE), when the King of Kudara, an ancient Korean province, sent, among other things, ‘several gorgeous kasa to the Japanese Emperor as a tribute. Prior to this time large rush hats were used in place of kasa.”
– We Japanese, Vol. 1, by H.S.K. Yamaguchi, Fujiya Miyanoshita Hotel, 1937