Yumihama Kasuri is unique with indigo-color and weaving patterns


Yumihama Kasuri is extremely close to daily life

Yumihama kasuri is manufactured in Yonago City and Sakaiminato City on the Yumihama Peninsula in Tottori Prefecture. It is named Yumihama-kasuri because it is made on Yumigahama beach, but it is also sometimes called Hama-kasuri. Yumihama-gasuri is characterized by its dark indigo color with a white pattern. Many of the patterns are considered auspicious in Japan, such as the drum, fan, carp, crane and turtle, chrysanthemum, and cloisonne connections. The patterns that emerge after weaving are precisely calculated, and locally grown Hakushu cotton is dyed separately with indigo. Japan has another type of Kasuri, Isesaki Kasuri.

*Kasuri is a weaving technique in which kasuri threads, or pre-dyed threads, are used in the warp, weft, or both to weave a pattern.

Originally made for Kimono, new products such as table centers and noren (curtains) are being produced in addition to kimono fabrics. The simplicity of the patterns, the contrast between the navy blue and white of the indigo-dyed fabric with a rough texture, and the wire material, which is rich in moisture absorption and heat retention, are the main characteristics of this fabric.

Yumihama fabric
source: Matsuki Gofukuten

History and Origins of Yumihama KAsuri

Yumihama Kasuri began to be woven around the 18th century. Originally woven by farmers for their own use, it has a rustic and rough texture. While government gifts tend to be elaborate and glittering, farmers wove these fabrics for their own daily use, so the designs are plain and simple.

From the Edo period to the Taisho period (1912-1926), Yumihama kasuri reached its peak and Tottori Prefecture was known as a production center of kasuri fabric. 1975 saw the designation of kasuri as a traditional craft and 1978 as a prefectural intangible cultural asset, and workshops were established throughout the prefecture to preserve the kasuri. However, after World War II, the survival of Yumihama kasuri was threatened by a lack of successors, and the demand for kasuri itself declined dramatically due to the spread of western-style clothing, and today only a small amount is produced.

Manufacturing Method and Process

1.Weft preparation

This is the basic process of making kasuri. The weft is stretched to match the seed yarn as much as necessary. Cotton is unraveled and put on a spinning wheel, and each strand is carefully spun one by one. The way the yarn is spun changes what kind of yarn it will become, so fine adjustments, which can be described as craftsmanship, are necessary.

2. Creation of the original design

This is an important process that determines the kasuri design. Since the kasuri pattern is drawn full-size on Japanese paper, precision is required. The design is often applied as a motif to wish the family good health, a good harvest, etc.

3. tanegami

When weaving many kasuri at once, it is common to make the original paper. The design is carved and pulled out from the shibu paper.

4. making the yarn

We make the threads that form the important foundation for making the kasuri. If the thread stretches, the kasuri pattern and the finished product will collapse, so the key is to firmly secure it to the small frame.

5. Threading the picture stand

Hang the thread on the stand where the picture will be painted. The thread must be applied at the same density as the width of the picture to be patterned, so the sense cultivated through years of experience is extremely important.

6. Inking

The pattern for the kasuri weave is matched to the pattern pattern, and the color that will serve as a marker is added with black ink to the threads applied in step 5.

7. Yokoitokuri (weft binding)

Using the inked seed threads, the weft is tied together using the inked area as a marker.

8. Dyeing

The fabric is dyed in indigo, the color characteristic of Yumihama Kasuri. Generally, “chemical indigo” is used for dyeing, but Yumihama Kasuri is more particular about this. The unique texture of Yumihama-gasuri is expressed through the traditional method of making indigo using a mixture of rare indigo and chemical indigo called “Hakko-ken” (fermented indigo) or lime mixed with indigo called “haijiruhakkodate” (fermented lime).

9. unraveling the kasuri

After dyeing, the kasuri is untied. After the kasuri is untied, the fabric is washed and dried.

10. Split the kasuri into two pieces.

After unbundling the kasuri, the seed threads of the kasuri are taken and wound onto a frame.

11. Yoko Yarn Tubing

The yarn is carefully wound to the length needed for weaving the kasuri. Finally weaving

Yumihama fabric product
source: Yumihamagasuri koubouB (https://kouboub.jp/gallery)

Key point

Yumihama-gasuri(kasuri) is characterized by its rustic pattern and rough texture, woven with the deep blue of indigo dye and the white cotton. The dyeing and weaving of kasuri takes a tremendous amount of time and effort. In order to dye the pattern with different threads, the threads are precisely bound according to the pattern and dyed with natural indigo. After dyeing the threads a deep dark blue, the threads are untied and weaved by hand using an old-fashioned loom. This process ensures that the fabric is comfortable to wear. Although the industry is in decline due to the popularity of Western-style clothing, craftspeople continue to produce excellent products.


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