Good to know!

  • 2009.01.20 Tuesday
  • 21:36
A gourgeous Kimono uses a lot of silk, and thus, is expensive. But a Kimono can be passed down from mother to daughter for many generations because the garment can be shortened or lengthened at the shoulders and hips, depending on the strature of a growing child. A Kimono is made from a long piece of cloth 35 com wide. When the stitching that shapes the kimono is pulled out, it returns to the original long pice of cloth. Stitched together again, it becomes another piece of clothing. Unlike dress, the Kimono can be folded flat like paper for easy torage. A kimono is versatile. From clothing, mother to daughter, it can be altered easily over and over again.

It's ture! Here is my photo in my mother's old Kimono even I am 10 cm taller than my mother. I can were after restiching!

Kumagaya-some (Yūzen/ Komon)

  • 2009.01.20 Tuesday
  • 20:51
Kumagaya-some (Yūzen/ Komon)

It is said that Kumagaya-some originated during the Edo Genroku Period (around 1690).  At the time, Kumagaya was a cotton trading center, and because it was at the confluence of the Arakawa and Hoshikawa Rivers, many dyeing shops gathered there. At first, these shops dyed mainly cotton, but after common people became allowed to wear silk, they began dying silk as well. It carries on the tradition of intricately patterned komon stencil dyeing as well as the elegant hand-drawn yūzen techniques. Kumagaya-some is not famous therefore they don’t use Kumagaya-some name but they are not in market. Now Kumagaya-some  association is training of successors.

More Kumabaya infometion

Chichcibu-meisen or Hogushi-nasen

  • 2008.11.24 Monday
  • 19:57
Chichibu in Saitama prefecture has been a famous for its sericulture and silk fabrics since the Edo period. At the end of this period (the middle of 19th Century), the hogushi weaving technique was invented and developed in Chichibu in the early 20th Century. It became a trendy and fashionable fabric for a daily-wear kimono, and modern and stylish patterns developed during Taisho to early Showa eras.

To start, the warp is held by interim weaving. The fabric is then removed from the loom and is printed by stencil. Once this printing is completed, the real weft is woven and the interim weft is untied. This process is called hogushi. The characteristic of hogushi fabric is fairly light and double-sided. Due to the warp printing, the pattern is soft and blurred, even if it the colors are bold and vivid.

This technique of printing patterns on the warp before weaving, has been difficult to do with mechanized production. Therefore craftsman still printed it carefully by hand and weave it by a traditional loom.  Unfortunately, the number of craftsmen is presently only a very few.

Sakaeya is planning a small trip to visiti Chihibu to see Chichibu-meisen. If you are interested in participating, please let Kahori know.

Warp: the set of lengthwise yarns through which the weft is woven.
weft: yarn which is drawn under and over parallel warp yarns to create a fabric.

Thanks to Arakei Orimono and Denise


  • 2008.11.15 Saturday
  • 13:15
Honjo-kasuri started in Honjo-city and Kodama-county, north part of saitama prefecture since where ware very active of growing of silkworms. Originally farm family’s daughters weaved for their own workday’s clothes then it became industry. However it is hard to find it now even. Only over 80 years still keep it.
At 27of May in 2006, Sakaeya welcomed Mr Akira Arakawa who is a traditional craftsman and his wife and got the chance to show their weaving technique to our customers and let them try it. TV Saitama came the event then they introduced us on the TV.

Center Mr Arakawa and his wife.

corruption within the Kimono industry...

  • 2007.03.28 Wednesday
  • 22:19
There is still a lot of corruption within the Kimono industry, as even Japanese people don't know Kimono well even though Kimono is our national costume.

For example, some Kimono stores price kimono well above the market price. Even when the Kimono is printed by a machine. They lie and say it is hand made and price it more than 100 times higher than it should be.

There were scandals in the Kimono industry last year. Two huge Kimono stores went bankrupt and one of the presidents of the company committed suicide. They did almost same thing, which is called "Date selling method".

The salesperson, who tend to be nice looking and young guys, take the women(costumers) hands and sweetly focus them on buying Kimono. They also let customers make credit card payments that incur huge amounts of interest, so even young women can buy expensive kimonos.

Where has their merit gone? What have honest crafts men who make their Kimono got? It's a pity, in Japan, as craftsmen suffer. I know many Kimono craftsmen can't survive only by making Kimono. They have part time jobs as well as making Kimono.

The answer is that the merit has gone from the store owner! Even those under 30, have a salary of over ten-million.

At our shop, we have been selling Kimono at the correct price and have a great relationship with Kimono craftsmen. I remember when I was an elementary school student, my parents invited the craftsmen to our shop and showed customers how to make Kimono, live. After that, we would have dinner together.

I also clearly remember, how our parents struggled with business. While my father, who passed away 17 years ago, was in hospital he said we should have changed our business, for example opened a bookstore since a bookstore didn't need to have stock in Japan. After my father died, my mother became our shop owner. Sometimes she had nightmares and woke up in the middle of the night and was about to cry and say how our shop is dangerous . ( I supposed the reason was the nonpayment of a draft).

Then finally, our shop had to start to sell second hand kimono 4 years ago . I'm not sure if it is because our shop became more friendly to everyone, but my mother said she has had a struggle with it since she had a pride in selling Kimono. She managed to convince herself by the words, " Even Toyota sells their second hand cars".

I think it might be true that one of the reasons we could not survive to sell only brand new kimono is the number of nasty Kimono shops, like I mentioned above, has increased. It also might be true that those Japanese who have a good view about Kimono has decreased.

I want to make the Kimono industry better and more honest, like make a clear commodity distribution * as a daughter who was born among a fair Kimono shop owners family. I believe it would be a homage for my father, who passed away, and my mother who gives me so much love.

* information,
> > Kimono distribution of goods is a craftman who is making Kimono >> Local association >> local commission agent >> bigger commission agent >> sometimes more and more agent >> kimono shop >>> consumer

I had an experience of being editor and like to write (especially in Japanese!). I believe this my new dream would supports Kimono's future better and make it more accessible to everyone.

Kimono for The Ordinary people

  • 2007.02.15 Thursday
  • 23:10
Kimono for The Ordinary people

It is a pity that there is little information about the Kimono of the old working classes, even though they were much greater in number than the bourgeoisie.
However, we are able to imagine what their Kimono would have been like, because living with only a bare minimum of resources available to them, their social development was relatively slow. People in the working classes had to obtain their clothing from nature. In some areas, the material used was hemp. In others, it was the bark of the elm tree. After turning the material from these plants into thread, they wove them on a frame to make the Kimono cloth. There are still some people who make this kind of Kimono by hand today, and through looking at them, we we can imagine what working class people’s Kimono were like. They were not colorful or fancy, but they incorporate great warmth and beauty.

Japanese Kogin, a type of embroidery technique.
Meiji Period, 19th Century.

Sashiko and Kogin Technique
Kogin embroidery is a variation of Sashiko.
Sashiko patterns are typically traced onto the right side of the ground fabric and then stitched with 5 ? 8 small, even stitches per inch along the pattern lines. Traditional sashiko patterns are done with white thread on indigo ground fabric but modern sashiko is now done with multi-colored thread on various types of ground, including silk. Kogin embroidery is done on evenweave fabric and is stitched as an over/under darning pattern. In order to create the pattern, the horizontal stitches vary in length. Traditional Kogin embroidery was also done with white thread on indigo ground but modern Kogin embroidery can be done with any thread you choose on any ground you choose. The archives of Janet Perry have Kogin darning patterns.

Luckily I was able to obtain the Kimono of a farmer from Yamagata** prefecture in Tohoku*,. It would appear that this kimono does not have a long history, because the material is cotton and the Tohoku area is too cold to grow cotton.

* Tohoku is north part of main island of Japan. This region has heavy snowfalls in winter and experiences very cold temperatures.

**About Yamagata's Kimonos

Yamagata is famous for bastard saffron daying.
Here is the material and collored of them.

Interestingly, Kimono that was originally made by poor farmers in remote regions for their own personal use has recently become more popular, as well as expensive. These kinds of Kimono can’t be made by machine.
For example, one area in Tohoku used a locally-sourced hemp called KARAMUSHI as thread. This thread was not smooth to the touch, nor good at keeping the body warm but the local people had no other alternative source for thread to make Kimono. We have one Karamushi Kimono priced at over 1,200,000yen!!!!

This is the Kimono!

More photos >


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