Nagoya Yuzen Dyeing

During the first half of the 18th century, Tokugawa Muneharu was the seventh in the line of leaders of the Owari clan controlling an area centered on present-day Nagoya. It was a time when the culture of the clan was flourishing and craftsmen of many types visited the area from Kyoto and elsewhere. It was then that the techniques of yuzen dyeing were introduced to the area.

Some 19th century items have been preserved and there are also records of the sale of stencil paper called Ise Katagami. Given the steady and restrained character of the local people, the number of colors used is kept to a minimum, or one color is graded to produce patterns in keeping with the local taste for the sober. The ground black of the cloth produced for one of the very formal kimonos called a tome-sode, is achieved by the torobiki kurozome technique peculiar to Nagoya, producing a really fine rich black.


The Nagoya region is known for its pragmatic local color and subdued temperaments, and in following, Nagoya yuzen is elegant and restrained, limiting color variation in the pattern, instead using shades of a single color to create a design. Formal black kimono are made using a method unique to Nagoya called "torobiki-kurozome", which results in a superior lustrous black color.

How to make

Hand-painted yuzen begins with a design and rough sketch, followed by application of paste, dyeing, and finishing, all done by a single person. Each item is completely handmade. Resist dyeing uses Ise katagami stencils to apply paste to the yuzen. Additionally, the surizome technique which uses a brush is also common.