Dyeing & Weaving

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Weave (p. 143 )

1. Produced in Taketomimachi(Taketomi Island) Yaeyamagun, Ishigaki City(Ishigaki Iseland) , Okinawa Prefecture.

2. Characteristics: Hemp fabric woven with threads which are dyed(printed) in Kasuri patterns with "Kuru," a plant of the "Yamanoimo"(Diascorra japonica) family. "Takahata"(high loom) is used for weaving and the fabric is bleached in sea water. Fine threads are used and fabrics with lighter threads are regarded as better.

3. Uses: Clothes for summer.

4. History: The origin is not clear but the fabric must have been woven since before 1637 as the name was listed as an item to be collected as tax in the tax document that year. "Cha(light brown) Gasuri" in "Yaeyama Jofu" became widely known through the Satsuma feudal government by the name of "Satsuma Jofu," "Satsuma Shiro(white) Kasuri" or "Sabi(rust) Gasuri." According to the traditional technique, the woven fabric is dried in the sun and then finished by bleaching in the sea water. As the outdoor tasks needed many workers, more than 20 work songs have been left for us by them. The production of "Yaeyama Jofu" increased very much as a result of the abolition of the poll tax in 1903, but declined in WWII. After the reversion of Okinawa to Japan in 1972, young islanders started actively developing the preservation of the traditional technique.