Nagoya Yuzen is one of the most famous Kimono textile


What is Nagoya Yuzen?

Nagoya Yuzen is a traditional art form predominantly produced in Aichi Prefecture. The defining characteristic of this yuzen dyeing technique is the use of monochromatic shading and blurring.

In contrast, “Kyo yuzen” exudes opulence and aesthetic allure, while “Kaga yuzen” boasts meticulousness and gracefulness. Nagoya Yuzen, however, possesses an austerity that exemplifies the resolute and frugal nature of Nagoya, in addition to a serene beauty and a rich depth of flavor. The methodology involved in Nagoya Yuzen is also distinct, with patterns drawn through three techniques: “hand-painted yuzen,” “kata-yuzen,” and “kuromontsuke-zome.”

Hand-painted Yuzen

Hand-painted Yuzen, as its name suggests, is a technique that has been utilized since the inception of yuzen, with each image being hand-drawn using a brush. The defining characteristic of Nagoya Yuzen is its “austerity,” with the patterns and motifs being predominantly classical and utilizing few colors without any extravagant tones. Beauty is derived through the shades of color obtained from a single hue.

In hand-painted yuzen, a preliminary drawing is created using aobana-eki, which is obtained by squeezing dewdrop flowers that fall off after being washed in water. In contemporary times, chemical dyes are occasionally used, wherein case the colors are eradicated through steaming.

Unique coloring

After completing the underpainting, colors are added to the pattern, with a paste known as itome nori being applied directly behind the underpainting to prevent color mixing. This is an exclusive technique of Nagoya Yuzen. Following the prevention of color mixing, the colors are sequentially applied, commencing with the lightest color. The craftsman utilizes an array of brushes and techniques to cautiously produce shades of color. Next, a paste known as fusenori is applied to the pattern where the colors have been inserted, preventing the color from transferring to the dye of the inserted design and discoloring the fabric during the “hikizome” process, which dyes the base color of the fabric. During the dyeing process, a sample of the desired color is utilized to create the color.

Once the color has been created, it is applied to the fabric to ensure that it is distributed evenly. Skilled craftsmanship is required to swiftly apply the color, or it will dry out. The final step is to apply color to the areas where color was not initially applied to the pattern, known as “color finishing,” wherein gold powder and gold leaf may also be used. Each of these procedures demands significant time and effort, and the craftsman’s skill is evident in the intricacy and precision required.

Nagoya Yuzen
Source: Shojikiya-en

Kata Yuzen

Kata Yuzen is a method that involves drafting patterns and designs using Ise-katagami, a dyeing stencil that has been engraved with Yuzen patterns and made in Suzuka City, Mie Prefecture. As the stencil is changed for each color, more than 100 sheets of stencil may be required for a vast number of colors. The pattern is placed on the fabric’s top, and the design is moved around as it is colored and dyed using a spatula. This process necessitates a great deal of skill to ensure that the seams remain invisible and the patterns do not shift.

Kuromontsuke Dyeing

Kuromontsuke Dyeing is a technique utilized to dye family crests on fabrics, particularly formal wear. Initially, it was used for kimono and flags, but later, a method was devised in which the fabric is dyed black, and the crest is left white, and the white portion is handwritten further. Nagoya Kuromonzuke dyeing is renowned for its exquisite black color and durability.

Method & Process

1. Draft

The design and hues are determined and sketched on paper before being drawn onto the fabric. The color is removed via washing with water, utilizing a solution of “aohana” derived from dewdrops. Sometimes, aohana, a chemical dye that removes color via steaming, is implemented.

2. Itome Norioki

This process involves applying manori from the back side of the underpainting. Manori is a paste created by mixing zinc powder, glutinous rice powder, and rice bran, also known as itome nori. This paste is a distinct process of Nagoya yuzen and prevents colors from intermingling by applying itome nori. Additionally, rubber glue, a mixture of Japanese painting pigment called Gunsei and glutinous rice powder, is sometimes used in conjunction with mashi-nori. While masa-glue can be removed with water, rubber glue necessitates the use of benzene.

3. Iro-sashi (color insertion)

This process involves inserting colors in alignment with the underpainting. The colors are inserted by heating the glue from the back with an electric stove to prevent blurring of the glue and bleeding out of colors. The colors are carefully inserted, beginning with the lightest hue, using an assortment of brushes and bristles. After the color insertion is complete, the color insertion process is finished by using steam to halt the color. It should be noted that not all of the colors are applied during the color insertion process. Details, such as the face of a person, are accomplished during the coloring process.

Nagoya Yuzen
Source: Chunichi news

4. Fuse-norioki

In this process, glutinous rice flour and salt are mixed and applied on the colored areas. This technique prevents the fabric’s base color from soaking into the dye. The tube used for fuse-agari-oki has a wider outlet than that used for itome-aguri-oki to spread the glue over a larger area. Furthermore, a sprinkling of sawdust or rice bran is necessary for fuse-agari-oki to accelerate the glue’s drying and avoid sticking to other parts of the fabric, preventing bruises during the hikizome process.

5. Hikizome

Hikizome is the method of dyeing the base color of the fabric. The base color is produced by matching colors from samples and fabric scraps. Mixing more colors results in dull colors with less brightness and saturation. Once the color is ready, it must be applied quickly with a brush from one end of the fabric to the other, to avoid drying and causing unevenness.

6. Color Finishing

Color finishing is the technique used to complete the details that could not be colored during the color insertion process. Before the coloring process, the piece is washed with water to remove excess dye and glue. After rinsing, yunoshi (bathing) is performed to straighten out wrinkles and adjust the length and width of the fabric by applying steam. Manual yunoshi uses a steam generator, while mechanical yunoshi uses a machine. After the yunoshi, it is time to insert color into the details. However, some items may be finished without the coloring process, depending on the design.

Nagoya Yuzen
Source: Diary by Megumi Sakurai
 1                    4               6  
Let's share this post !