NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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筒描藍染 Tsutsugaki-aizome Tsutsugaki Aizome (Tsutsugaki Indigo Blue Dyeing)

Jp En

The furoshiki (wrapping cloths) made in the Izumo, Matsue and Yonago areas of Shimane Prefecture are designated as traditional hometown handicraft.

Before the Meiji period, there were aizome indigo dyers across the nation, however, around 1917 (Meiji 40), chemical dyeing had become popular. By 1950, of the 59 tsutsugaki aizome dyers in Izumo, only 4 remained. Today, only one tsutsugaki aizome dyer remains in Nagata, which is recognized by the prefecture as an  intangible cultural asset.

Tsutsugaki aizome with a family crest were used as  trousseau items up untilthe Taisho period. Furoshiki wrapping cloths were also included in trousseaus.

Making the tsutsugaki aizome requires repetition in dyeing. During the dyeing process, the patterns on the aizome are protected by paste, which is later washed off in the Takase River.
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大畑家の武者絵のぼり Oohatake-no-mushae-nobori Mushae-nobori by the Ohatas

Jp En

In Ichikai Town, Tochigi Pref. there is a custom of setting out Mushae-nobori (labrums with a warrior painting) as the decoration of Tango-no-sekku on May 5 with the wish for the boy’s sound growth and success in life. The Ohata family, who had been the castellan of Ohata Castle in Kozuke region, ran a dye house in the Edo period. It is said that the Ohatas dyed the costume worn by masterless warriors of Ako-han on the day of their Uchiiri (revenge raid). The Ohatas began to make Mushae-nobori in 1889, and the traditional craft has been handed down through three generations. In the old days every picture was painted by hand but now they use both hand painting and stencil dyeing in which thirty stencils are used for one picture. The images are selected from portraits of  famous warriors such as Shingen Takeda, Kenshin Uesugi, Nobunaga Oda and Hideyoshi Toyoyomi. The faces are all gallant and graceful and the fine touches of painting-brush given at the beard are especially fantastic. The picture gives such a strong impact that you can sense the breath of those wartime warriors.
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"Nippon-kichi" leads you to places, people and things that reveal a certain Japanese aesthetic.

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