There exist many traditional products in Japan produced by Japanese ancestors for enjoyably and comfortably overcome the hot and humid summer. Products may cool users by sending them wind, while others may serve to aesthetically please the users during summer. Furin, a popular summer tradition, also known as “wind bell,” serves to please the users through hearing. The unique, high-pitched sound it produces somehow provides coolness to Japanese, though it may not have any effect on foreign people.
Initially, however, wind bells were used as fortune-telling devices in the Tang dynasty approximately 2000 years ago. When the tool was brought into Japan along with Buddhism during the Nara period, it served as a talisman, as Furin, which rings whenever the wind is blowing, as ‘wind’ was thought to be delivering epidemic diseases and calamity, which is why many temples had Furin hanged in the front. In the Edo period, as the technology of ‘glasses’ were brought into Japan, Furin made out of glass was produced, which were very expensive for common people. In the following periods, people added a new value to it and used it not just as a talisman, however, as a familiar good of amusement, and as people thought that the sound it creates is similar to that made by bell crickets, which are insects that come out from the end of summer to fall, Furin was hanged to distract people from the hot and humid atmosphere, and to feel the moderate environment after summer.
Today, various kinds of Furin are available in the market that uses different materials and produces varying sound. The profound sounds produced by Furins of Nambu Tekki are especially beautiful. Nambu Wind Bell by Rikucho Ogasawara not only entertains the listeners with pleasant sounds, but the simple shapes resemble products of summer tradition, aesthetically pleasing the users as well.
The psychological effect it has on Japanese is truly interesting and by acquiring the same sensation, one could deeply understand Japanese spirit and tradition.
Rikucho Ogasawara's Nambu Wind Bell
Sound of "Kasa"
Sound of "Kai"