History of Edogawa (Sakurai Family)

Sakurai Fishing Tackle was established in 1888 inTokyo.  The founder, Shintarou Sakurai (Also known as Edogawa I), opened a small fishing tackle shop by the Edogawa River with his father, Jisaburou (he originally was dexterous and creative enough to make lots of crafts).  While the business prospered, Shintarou, at the age of twelve, became interested in “Wa-zao” (traditional Japanese fishing rod) handmade by “Maestro Saoji”, a famous wa-zao artisan at the time.  Saoji used to sell his wa-zao at wholesale to the shop. Thus, while Shintarou sold Saoji`s rods, he also began to intently learn how to make wa-zao by Saoji though Shintarou was not an official pupil.  Later, Hiroshi Sakurai, or Edogawa II, opened his own shop at the age of twenty-three in Kanda, a very famous street near Ginza.

 

Edogawa II was not only a master of fishing but also talented in rod making.  Japan being a treasure-trove of high-quality bamboo, he succeeded in exporting mass-produced Japanese style hexagonal split bamboo and cane rods to the United States after WWII. He also continued to manufacture various original Japanese fishing rods using split bamboo, ranging from surf fishing to deep-sea rods.  Inspired by the flexibility of the nylon threads by DUPONT Company, he created the world’s-first artificial soft plastic bait, the Sakura Bait. From then on, Edogawa II and III cooperated to develop the basis of atelier Edogawa under the concepts of wa-zao, and decided to call it “Splendid Action”. To this day, the concepts of Edogawa rods are still based on this, though the main materials used in the fishing rods have changed from bamboo to glass fiber or carbon graphite fiber. 


A birdcage “Sashiko” for white-eye by Jisaburou Sakurai from about 1868. It is decorated with ivory, and painted with Urushi (pure Japanese lacquer).

 

In 1953, 10000 pieces of fly rods being shipped to U.S.A.

 

Hiroshi Sakurai (Edogawa II, 1910~1995) at our atelier in 1960s.