Nagoya Black Dyeing

At the beginning of the 17th century, the Owari clan controlled the area centered on present-day Nagoya. It was then that the Kosakai family--one of the families of retainers--was recognized as clan dyer by the Shogun, Tokugawa Ieyasu, and the making of clan flags and banners at this time led to the establishment of this craft.
The dyeing of a black cloth with reversed-out family crests for clan members and others began at the end of the Edo period (1600-1868). In the middle of the 19th century, dyeing in the area became very much more organized and a union was formed.

In order to faithfully reproduce a family crest on a piece dyed cloth, a paper stencil is used. The mon'ate amitsuke technique, which is peculiar to Nagoya, is used and although time consuming, the black shows no tendency to seep. In the case of brush dyeing, a starch paste resist is applied and dyed by the torobiki kurozome technique to produce a rich black. Nowadays, formal kimono and those for mourning are most commonly made.


In order to make cloth with family crests that stand out well, a stencil of the crest is used from the start when dip-dyeing. They are dyed using a technique unique to Nagoya called monate-amitsuke, which has a long dyeing time, resulting in a deep black color. With brush dyeing, the shape of the crest is covered in paste to resist the dye, and the fabric is dyed with the torobiki-kurozome technique which results in a deep and lustrous black.

How to make

There is dip dyeing and brush dyeing, and the fabric is first dyed with red or blue. For dip dyeing, the family crest has stencils pasted together through the fabric, with a metal net clamping them together before soaking the fabric in the dye for a long period of time, with the monate-amitsuki technique. For brush dyeing, the crest part is covered with resist paste, and the fabric is dyed black using techniques such as mitsuhiki-kurozome or torobiki-kurozome, and finished with a brush. Afterwards, the parts of the crest that remain white are drawn in with a brush by hand.