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  • 執筆者の写真伝統屋 暁

Arimatsu Tie-Dyeing ----- the traditional crafts along the Old Tokaido Road


Konnichiwa! Hallo everyone!

There are many wonderful fabric products in Japan. Today I would like to introduce Arimatsu Shibori, a tie-dye fabric that is famous along the Old Tokaido Road.

The old Tokaido Road was the main walking trail between Tokyo and Kyoto, the former capital of Japan. It was an important road for samurai, officials and merchants during Edo period (1603~1868).

If you want to walk the whole trail, it is about 514 km and it will probably take you around 21 days, and what makes us surprise is..... our shop owner challenged to walk all the way through on foot!!!! He made it from September 1st to 23rd.

If you are interested in, please check out his YouTube channel and subscribe it! (Now only Japanese subtitles is available)


So let's move back about Arimatsu Shibori tie- dyeing along the Old Tokaido Road!!!

【What is tie-dyeing?】

Tie-dye is a dyeing technique that expresses patterns by making folds and wrapping them with thread, or sandwiching the cloth with boards to prevent dyeing. It features a unique texture that creates bumpy rough surfaces on the cloth.

Because of its light and cool feel, it is mainly used as a yukata fabric, and the Arimatsu town and Narumi town areas are the the largest producer of Shibori tie-dyeing in Japan.

Originally, "Kanoko Shibori" in Kyoto, which is tie-dyeing fine silk, was famous but it was very expensive and not accessible to the general public.

However, as the production of cotton increased and indigo dyeing became popular, tie-dyeing using indigo was started in other areas as well.

【History of Arimatsu Shibori tie-dyeing】

"Arimatsu Shibori tie-dyeing" is a generic name for cotton tie-dyeing fabric made in the Arimatsu town and Narumi town areas of Nagoya City, Aichi Prefecture.

Arimatsu, the town of Shibori technique was born by the founders Shokuro Takeda in 1608, shortly after Ieyasu Tokugawa opened the shogunate in Edo.

Arimatsu Shibori was began when tie-dyeing was applied to Chita cotton (Mikawa cotton) which was made in the neighboring town.

During the Edo period, people who are traveling on the Old Tokaido Road bought Japanese hand towel and yukata as souvenirs for their hometown in Arimatsu, so that the Arimatsu Shibori fabric became popular as souvenirs.

The sight is also depicted in woodblock print by Katsushika Hokusai and Hiroshige Utagawa, and we can imagine the popularity of those days.

It was designated as a national traditional craft under the name of "Arimatsu Narumi Shibori" in 1975.

【Features of Arimatsu Shibori】

The tie-dyeing cloth is tied very tightly, so when the thread is unwound, a raised part of the cloth appears.Thanks to that, it has good breathability and has light and cool feel.

It also became popular because Arimatsu tie-dyeing has a unique pattern that cannot be expressed by other dyeing and weaving techniques.

The pattern comes out by changing the technique of tying and Shibori craftsmen tie the fabric with threads based on the design.

A hundred or more techniques have been invented for this process, and there are specialized craftsmen for each technique!!

【Do you know Chirimen fabric?】

Our shop has a Chirimen cloth product also. Both Shibori and Chirimen have a rough surface and what is the difference between Shibori and Chirimen?

Compared to Shibori fabric, Chirimen is a woven cloth.

Chirimen is a fabric in which straight threads are used for the warp threads, and twisted threads are used for the weft threads, and they are woven alternately.

These two types of threads create unique bumps. Thanks to that bumps, wrinkles are less likely to occur and the texture become soft and supple.

"Shibori" and "Chirimen"--- both have bumpy rough surfaces, but the two differ in whether they are dyed or woven

DENTOYA AKATSUKI, at our shop, we offer some kind of Chirimen accessories. Please have a look!





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