A tradition of the Saru River basin region since ancient times. It was used in trade with other regions as a product of the Saru River basin during the Edo period.
While dating back to the 8th century, the weaving of this cloth did not become firmly established in this area of Yamagata Prefecture until the beginning of the 17th century. This was when Uesugi Keisho, the lord of the fief, encouraged its weaving.
In Japan, ever since the Jomon and Yayoi periods, people have made thread from fiber derived from plants and trees that grow naturally in the mountains such as Japanese linden, mulberry, elm, wisteria, kudzu, and ramie, and used this thread to weave fabric and make clothing and ornaments for private home use.
Oku-Aizu Showa Karamushi Textiles
Karamushi is a plant also known as ramie, whose cultivation techniques have been passed down since olden times. All processes from cultivation up to weaving karamushi are done by hand in Showa Village where it is cultivated to produce fine linen textiles. Due to its superior moisture absorption and quick drying properties, it is used not only for making summer clothing, but also for making accessories, ornaments, and other articles.
The Yuki area of Ibaraki Prefecture had been a center for sericulture since ancient times. Based on this, Yuki Tsumugi was woven during slack periods of the farming year and cloth was supplied to the Imperial Court during the Nara period (710-794).
Although the history of Isesaki Kasuri dates back to ancient times, it was not until the latter half of the 17th century that a production center for these cloths became established. Also, from the middle of the 19th century right up until relatively recent times, these cloths were known throughout Japan as Isesaki meisen.
It is said that Kiryu Ori go back some 1,200 years, to when Princess Shirataki, who served at the Imperial Court, went to live in Kiryu after she married into the Yamada family and taught the art of sericulture and weaving to the people of the village.
This textile originated in the Edo period, and in 1908, the unique hogushi nassen dyeing technique was patented, and the craft prospered.
Murayama Oshima Fabrics
While the history of this kimono cloth only seems to date back to the middle of the 19th century, it was in 1920 that the techniques associated with two different cloths were combined to produce the silk cloth known as Murayama Oshima Tsumugi.
It seems that the island of Kihachijo got its name from the Hachijo cloth, and the island was a supplier of silk right back in the Muromachi period (1392-1573). Since the middle of the 18th century, very elegant striped and checked cloths have been woven on the island, and these kimono cloths and obi still have many followers today.
Two silk cloths known as Takiyama pongee and Yokoyama pongee were being made toward the end of the 12th century, in the area of present-day Hachioji on the western edge of Tokyo.
The history of weaving in the Shiozawa area is very long and an example of a linen cloth--now Echigo linen--woven during the Nara period (710-794) is preserved in the Shosoin Repository in Nara. The skills and techniques used to weave this linen cloth were adopted for the weaving of a silk cloth that became Shiozawa Tsumugi and was first woven during the Edo period (1600-1868).