Hello from Japan. This is Kimono Flea Market ICHIROYA's News Letter No. 463.
In our last newsletter, we wrote about this white haori seemed to have been woven of crane down.
(Please see our last newsletter, if you have not read about it)
A great discovery which proves `The Crane Story' was real?
Finally we could find a method to identify whether the down is from cranes. We found a company who does `birds survey'. We contacted Mr Kataoka and he introdueced us to Yamashina Institue of Ornithology. Then Mr Hiraoka introduced us Mr Fujii, who was a researcher of identification of down using microscope.
Mr Fujii kindly accepted our request, actually he was interested in this particular jacket. In his website , there were many samples of feathers and down, and we waited for the results with a lot of anticipation.
Two days after we sent the haori to him-we could see his report on this haori!
The above photo is from his report in his wesite.
Unfortunately the woven down was not crane but swan.
Actually, there have been woven fabrics in old times in Japan. In Akita prefecture in Tohoku area, the particular weaving using swan down and the fiber of wild vegetable called Zenmai (it is called Zenmai-swan weaving or Amasagi Zenmai tsumugi). That traditional weaving has been abolished but there are still some weving using down in present time.
We thought it must have been made of crane down just like the folk tale but it was swan.
However, it is possible that these kimono made of swan have been called Kakusho(Kakusho is a term to call a kimono made of crane down-it was considered to be for very high rank.) Mr Fujii mentioned, that in old times even storks were called as cranes. People in Edo period could tell the difference by seeing woven kimono? I do not think so. So this haori might have been called Kakusho and must have been highly valued, we assume.
It was so exciting looking into this white haori-we thank for all the people who were interested in this haori and helped us to identify the down.
If we find another kimono which may prove `The Crane Story', we ask Mr Fujii again for the research!