Textiles of Kyushu

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One of the unique cultural aspects that represent a country and its culture are its traditional textiles.

And Japan is no exception, where each region of the country itself has its own unique local traditional textiles. It’s actually very interesting when you look at the differences between them one by one, so today we would like to introduce some of the local traditional textiles of Kyushu.

Hakata-ori

Hakata-ori is, as its name implies, a traditional kind of textile from the Hakata district of Fukuoka City, Fukuoka Prefecture.

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During the Edo period, the local Kuroda clan would present Hakata-ori textiles to the shogunate as gifts, and Kabuki actor Ichikawa Danjuro VII would take the stage clad in Hakata-ori, both of which helped give rise to the popularity of the local fabric.

Hakata-ori is particularly known both for its durability and its elasticity, and it takes over 15,000 threads of fabric carefully woven one-by-one in just the right order to make one obi sash.

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Obi sashes made out of Hakata-ori are also known for the little squeaking sound they make when tied. Hakata-ori is in fact said to be ideal for use in obi sashes thanks to its durable, elastic nature.

You can even find a variety of other small items such as wallets, business card holders, and pouches made out of Hakata-ori at the local souvenir shops.

Kurume Kasuri

Kasuri is a weaving technique in which dyed fibers are woven together to create patterns.

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Kurume kasuri is a local kind of textile from Kurume City, Fukuoka Prefecture. This unique kind of fabric is known for its white and indigo colors, and was even designated an important intangible cultural property of Japan in 1956.

Kurume kasuri, with its not-too-flashy, understated yet lovely aesthetic, was said to have first started with a 12-year-old girl.

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Here is a coaster woven by our very own staff here at FFJ!

In recent years, the fabric has been used not only in traditional Japanese-style clothing, but has also increasingly been used in Western-style clothing, sneakers, bags and other new products.

Oshima Tsumugi

The Amami Islands (and Amami Oshima Island in particular) in Kagoshima Prefecture are known for a local traditional handicraft of their own: Oshima Tsumugi.

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The Amami Islands (and Amami Oshima Island in particular) in Kagoshima Prefecture are known for a local traditional handicraft of their own: Oshima Tsumugi.

The mud used in the mud dyeing process contains large amounts of iron, which when absorbed by the threads of fabric make it resistant to insects and durable for a long-lasting final product that can be enjoyed year after year.

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Oshima Tsumugi, also a recognized traditional handicraft of Japan, is prized for its chic hues and understated, elegant feel.

These are just a few of the many examples of local textiles found throughout Japan.

These unique local handicrafts make not only the perfect gift or item of clothing for special occasions, but also make great souvenirs, so be sure to keep them in mind!