Kimono Flea Market ICHIROYA's News Letter No.496

This is Kimono Flea Market ICHIROYA's News Letter No.496.

We had holidays called Golden Week(from April 27th to 29th and May 3rd to 6th. Some people took holidays in between to have 10 days holidays but most people had these two separate holidays. From May 3rd, we went to Yamanashi to attend a small party for Ichino, our grand daughter. They have this tradition of ohirome, introducing a baby to relatives. The party was held at an old Japanese restaurant, and the relatives gathered and celebrated Ichino as a member of the family. Everyone wanted to hold her-we had saki and good food...Ichino was asleep most of the time!


During this trip to Yamanashi, Ichiro and I (Yuka) had planned to visit Itchiku Kubota museum. Itchiku Kubota was a famous kimono craftsman. You may have heard the tie dye technique called Tsujigahana.

The original Tsujigahana has disappeared suddenly after a short time of prosperity-it has been said the technique has been forgotten and taken over by Yuzen dye technique which had more painterly expression, using more colors.

So Tsujigahana technique had been considered to have gone but Itchiku Kubota was enchanted by this art when he was 20 years old, and after surviving from his detention in a Siberian labor camnp, he has just devoted his life to the revival of this Tsujigahana technique. Tsujigahana refers Itchiku's technique now, and many people do not know about the original Tsujigahana from Muromachi to the beginning of Edo period.

Seeing Itchiku's Tsujigahana is seeing his obsession-the work is just so elaborate, and we cannot describe in words. He has this obsession of the revival of Tsujigahana, and devoted his life for the revival.

I found his life story video on You Tube-(there is no narration but the story is in Japanese)in the video, the first half part is telling his hard time in Siberia. He has seen a lot of deaths and was under the most oppressive condition but the beauty of sunset there made him resolve to come back to Japan and give his life to restore the particular technique of Tsujigahana.

For twenty years, he gave all his time for this, and his family had to experience the poverty. He finally achieved to restore Tsujigahana. The procedure of this art is described in the video also. First he drew the design-then sewed along the design(the threads used there are vinyl)-then tied for dyeing (bind the threads three times and tie twice and pull)-then put dye stuff, which was the most difficult part-then to resist dye stuff, put vinyl cover to the part which was not supposed to be dyed. Then steam to settle the dye stuff-rinse in water again and again-put bamboo stick after each wash-then cut or pull out the threads- repeat this procedure many times- it took about one year for one piece of work.
At the last part of the video, it shows the exhibitions in all over the world.


He has been determined so much and without his long time of work, Tsujigahana must have kept being perished. His obsession has made Tsujigahana come back.
You can see that by seeing his work one by one in person.

He made series of work, he had this inspiration coming from inside like a fountain.

Here is the example of two famous series of work-called Kokyou and Fujisan. Kokyou(The sound of light) was made to have 80 pieces but he has passed away in 2003.
We could see some of the series of this Kokyou and also Fujisan(Mt. Fuji)at the museum.


The Itchiku Kubota Museum is located near the Kawaguchi lake. It has a very special atmosphere and you can be in the Itchiku world in the serene place. Each kimono is overwhelming. They are not just kimono but each kimono with his Tsujigahana is art - the collection of his deep thoughts.

If you visit Kanto area, we recommend to visit this museum to see his awesome work. Around Mt Fuji, there are five famous lakes and the scenery of Mt Fuji with the lakes are more than impressive. We are sure you will enjoy the museum and the area if you have a chance to visit Yamanashi.

We will be very happy if you enjoy browsing our website! and check our new arrivals!

with many kansha,
Ichiro & Yuka Wada
Kimono Flea Market ICHIROYA