Yaeyama Minsaa

There are records confirming that a cotton cloth or minsaa which had originated in Afghanistan and had been brought to the Ryukyus from China was in use at the beginning of the 16th century at the Ryukyu court. It seems fairly certain, therefore, that minsaa was already being woven in the Yaeyama area about this time. The name minsaa is derived from min meaning cotton and saa meaning narrow band.
In the past, a woman would give a minsaa to a man she loved, the four or five patterns woven into the cloth being a sign of unfailing affection.

Both warp and weft threads are cotton and the ikat threads are tied by hand. The dyestuff is usually indigo producing a sea-blue like background on which the pattern is picked out in white in beautiful contrast. The main products are obi sashes for men and women and ties.


The origin of Yaeyama Minsa goes back to times older than 17th century. Also the etymology is uncertain, although it is said that the word “Mensaobi (narrow cotton sash)” became Minsa. Kasuri is is bundled by hand, dyed indigo beforehand, and woven corduloy. The sash is worn by men. Kasuri patterns with four and five rectangular shapes are placed alternatively to pray for longevity.

How to make

Kasuri is bundled by hand, dyed ikat and woven corduloy using hand shuttle or Tojo (blade shuttle).