Okujun

One of the world's leading silk fabrics spun by human hands
Manufacturing wholesaler that supports Yuki Tsumugi

2021.03.12

Yuki Tsumugi Okujun

Fertile land spreads along the Kinugawa River, which runs through the foot of Mt. Tsukuba in the center of the Kanto Plain. This area, where sericulture has been flourishing since ancient times, has a history of developing as a textile producing area. It is said that the prototype of Yuki Tsumugi was already born in the Heian period in this area, which currently straddles Tochigi and Ibaraki prefectures.

The woven fabric, which was called "Hitachi Tsumugi" in the Kamakura period, was favored by samurai who respected the spartan because of its simple and sturdy texture. It wasn't until the Edo period that it was distributed as "Yuki Tsumugi", and the woven cloth was carried down the Kinugawa River to Edo. At that time, Yuki Tsumugi was a man, and it seems that there was a particular demand for samurai and merchants who made a fortune. After the Meiji era, many patterns and fabrics were developed, and Yuki Tsumugi evolved into fashionable clothes for women.

Yuki Tsumugi was designated as an important intangible cultural property of the country in 1956 (Showa 31), and the three processes of "thread tsumugi, kasuri kukuri, and ground weaving" were designated as an important intangible cultural property of the country, and in 2010 (Heisei 22), it was registered as a UNESCO intangible cultural heritage. Was done. In the land of Yuki, Okujun 1907 (Meiji 40 ) Founded in the year. As a "manufacturing wholesaler" that undertakes planning, design, sales and distribution of Yuki Tsumugi, it has contributed to the development of the entire production area to this day.

Okujun Co., Ltd.

Mr. Nobuyuki Okuzawa, Managing Director and CEO of Okujun Co., Ltd., said, "Weaving fabrics that are designated for manual manufacturing processes are rare in the world. I would like to introduce Yuki Tsumugi as something that can be worn around us. "

Mr. Nobuyuki Okuzawa, Managing Director, Okujun Co., Ltd.

Yuki Tsumugi production process

Yuki Tsumugi depends on its manufacturing method. 2 It can be divided into two. 1 One is "Authentic Yuki Tsumugi". The entire process from thread removal to dyeing and weaving is done by hand. 1 Anti ( 12.5m ) 5 months to weave 3 It takes years. The other is called "Ishige Yuki Tsumugi", which is produced efficiently by introducing a semi-automatic loom into the weaving process. However, it is also the person who operates the loom, and the technique backed by experience is still required. By the way, the cloth of "Ishige Yuki Tsumugi" is 1 Anti 20 ~ 80 It is retailed for 10,000 yen.

The process of Yuki Tsumugi is thread picking → dyeing → weaving for both “home” and “ishige”. Okujun plays a producer-like role in this process, such as deciding the design.

1. Thread taker

Boiled silk moth cocoons and manually spread them into bags were originally called "cotton". The use of cotton became widespread in the Edo period, but since the raw material for taking the cotton thread was also said to be cotton, the two were distinguished and silk cotton was given "true". Threads are spun from the cotton by hand.

2. Dyeing

In the light of the indicated color swatch, Choose colors from a repertoire of 5,000 and mix dyes Then put it in the kettle. Put the thread in the kettle 1 Let the dye soak into the thread slowly for a while. Yuki Tsumugi's thread does not twist strongly, so it will hurt if you stir it in a kettle. Therefore, gently soak the yarn in the dye so that the thread is not burdened, and repeat this many times.

At the time of the interview, it was dyed with the branches of the cherry blossoms "Shikawa Sakura" in Tochigi and Oyama.

Silk thread before dyeing

Countless dyes in the workshop

Dye preparation is done in 1/100g units

Always 42 , 3 A workshop that reaches ℃. Sunrise during the day to see the colors 3 Sunset after hours 3 Since the work time is before the hour, it becomes a scorching place especially in the summer due to the heat outside.

Involved in dyeing 43 We talked to Masamichi Okubo, a traditional craftsman of the year. "Reproducibility is important for craftsmen. It is only when the same color is reproduced many times that it is full-fledged." Even if you gain experience, it is important to pay attention to color matching, and you need to make one shot. "It's natural to be well done, but I'm happy when the customers are happy," he said.

Yuki Tsumugi Dyeing Division Traditional Craftsman Masamichi Okubo

3. Weaving

The dyed thread is used as a warp for about 70 m and set on a loom. Weave the warp and weft through a tube wound around it. If you drive too much, the eyes will get clogged and the soft texture of Yuki Tsumugi will be lost. Therefore, it takes time to weave while removing thread deposits such as silk moth shells so that the eyes are not clogged too much.

On this day, Ai Murofushi, who let me observe the process, entered the prefectural guidance center after graduating from high school and this way. twenty two Year. nevertheless The limit is to weave about 5 stalls at 10m a day. And that.

Ai Murofushi

A tube around which weft is wound. Use 30 bottles a day

It is good in the cold season, but in the rainy season, if the glue of the thread is sweet, it becomes fluffy due to humidity. In that case, weaving is done while fixing it, so it may be difficult to proceed, but when weaving well, you will feel the real thrill of work.

Inspection after weaving. Carefully remove the knots with scissors. After this 40 It is finally completed as a woven fabric after being passed through hot water at ℃.

According to Osamu Iijima of Iiroku Textile, who is in charge of the "weaving" process, the weaver is now 3 With a name system, it is a plus during the busy season 1 It is said to face by name. Four As a name 1 The stalls that can be produced daily 20 Sheet. Of course, we also weave the fabrics of other items such as kimono fabrics, so the actual number of production will be even smaller.

Iiroku Textile Osamu Iijima

Mr. Nobuyuki Okuzawa of Okujun talked about the future of Yuki Tsumugi based on the current situation.

It is important to make numbers in order to maintain the skills and craftsmen who have the skills. "Mass production" is ideal in a sense because it allows quality control. The idea of "stop because it doesn't sell" is dangerous So, it is the role of Okujun to create an environment where craftsmen can make things so that they will not lose their jobs.