Traditional Fabrics of Japan
A rich diversity of textile traditions
preserved by Kimono garment culture
It used to be a common human practice, dedicating substantial effort to make a cloth.
The materials of threads and dyes were, for instance, hemp, bast-fibers, cotton, silk, or animal fibers, and the whole process, spinning, dyeing and weaving, was done by hand.
The advent of spinning machine, power loom, chemical dyes and synthetic fiber, has eliminated the handcraft traditions across the globe.
Miraculously, in Japan, a rich diversity of handcraft textile traditions has survived across the Archipelago.
It is thanks to traditional "kimono" garment culture continuing even today's Japan.
Now there are 38 woven textiles are designated as 'traditional crafts of Japan', and two of them are listed on UNESCO's intangible cultural heritages.
Moreover, nearly a hundred of local textile traditions and some of individual artists maintain and continue to develop unique and finest textile folk arts.
Who we are & our aim
A long-established handcraft textile
speciality store based in Kyoto
We, HIrotatsumugi Co. Ltd, have been a professional wholesaler of Japan's traditional handicraft textiles for half a century, now covering most of the handcraft woven textiles in Japan.
So-called “Ton'ya” in Japan's kimono market, being one of the biggest wholesaler company, collecting textile folk arts from remote villages, and wholesale them to the kimono retail stores, with long experience and deep knowledge about the textiles.
In recent years, the situations have been changing. Because of the reduced demand of kimono, these fabrics facing a risk of dying out.
Some of the weaving traditions have already disappeared. Moreover, in the next 10 or 20 years, it is expected that many major textile traditions would vanish away, because of the aging of craftspeople and lack of younger successors.
Shamefully, the beautiful textiles and sophisticated traditions have been only known inside the limited kimono market so far.
We believe that these fabrics should be known worldwide, along with such as the globally-known Persian carpet, Gobelins or Batik.
Therefore, we aim to broaden a market regardless of kimono and domestic demand.
Hope to reaches to someone who can utilize and find new ways to enjoy the Japan's traditional handcraft textiles not only as kimono cloth.
Tsumugi, Kasuri, Hand-loomed textiles...
The world largest folk fabric collections
The textiles we specialize in are handcraft yarn-dyed or ikat weavings, that are used to be the most common folk craft fabrics until modern age in Japan, used for local villagers' daily clothing, casual kimono or farmers wear.
Silk, hemp, cotton or bast-fibers are spun by hand into a yarn. Then, yarns are dyed by plants and hand-loomed into a 12m×0.4m woven fabric -- such cloth are collectively called 'Tsumugi'.
Some of these most elaborately crafted textiles spend more than a year to complete by a different seasoned artisans involved at each stage.
The land of Japan is long from north to south - from the heavy snowfall area to the sun-drenched tropical islands. Unique and diverse Tsumugi textiles and traditions have developed in different climates and cultures.
Including UNESCO's ICHs, Yuki-tsumugi and Echigo-jofu, or Oshima tsumugi, Oitama tsumugi, Ryukyu textiles, Shiozawa tsumugi, Noto jofu, Shinshu tsumugi, Tanba nuno, Kihachi-jo, Omi textiles, bast-fiber textiles... could still go on and on.
We have several hundred different types of textiles collected from different regions of Japan, total number of our stocks would be nearly a thousand annually.Products
Humanity invented weaving since prehistoric times, and utilized for various purposes including clothing. The traditions of weaving and dying based on natural privileges, are seen in various regions across the world. Nevertheless, because of lifestyle changes and advances in sciences in the past century, clothing culture has standardized rapidly. If we lose each of traditional and ethnic clothing, the wisdoms and techniques of making them will also disappear.
Such knowledge that are handed over from person to person, are all tactic knowledge, which are almost impossible to restore once disappeared.
By creating a hub for connecting weaving regions and local manufactures with people who love fabrics all over the world, we aim to leave our traditions to the future.