Kimono videos

The wonderful Tokyo Traditional Crafts site has videos on how several crafts are made – just click to see the variety. For the videos it’s best to right-click on the Broadband button and choose “Save Link As” rather than clicking directly – the broadband files range from about 5-10 meg, and that way you have a permanent copy. (All videos are narrated in Japanese.)

For kimono, I started out with Tokyo tegaki yuuzen (Tokyo handpainted yuzen – a silk dyeing technique). It starts out with an artisan sketching flowers, then has shots of kimono (in particular a beautiful furisode) and the dyeing process from sketch to finish. (English explanations of the same videos.) There is a great deal of information for those interested in what goes into making a kimono: you can see the kimono outline used for sketching, how resist is applied and so forth. Even gold leafing is shown, as well as how mon (family crests) are applied. Watching these videos makes it much easier to appreciate the “high” prices of yuzen kimono.

Continuing on the dyeing theme, there are videos on Edo sarasa (Edo calico; stencil-dyed) and yukata dyed with the Chusen Chugata technique, which has several shots of people wearing yukata. The sarasa technique looks very well like it could be the one used to dye my patchwork tsumugi and stripes komon. It’s fascinating how the different stencils all “layer” to create a variegated end design.

As for weaving, True Golden Hachijo (kihachijo) begins with a lovely panorama of the area it’s named after, and then moves to a weaver’s workshop. There are kihachijo production descriptions in English based on the videos. Also look at Tama fabrics for another regional weave. I love the shot of the weaver with all the spools in the background! (Tamaori production explained in English.) There are videos on obijime (kumihimo) just beneath the Tama fabrics videos on the Tokyo page.

The site linked for English explanations, Traditional Crafts of Japan, is another treasure trove of information, also with videos. The Tokyo site’s organization is a bit easier to navigate as concerns finding videos.

Last but not definitely not least, the gorgeous videos on Edo embroidery. The first video has a lovely worn kimono and obi.

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