‘Design Kimono – Koji YOSHIE’

Koji Yoshie of Yoshie Kobo is a recognised traditional craftsman. He dyes kimono using Kyo Yuzen’s stencil dyeing technique. He shows stencils to explain basics of stencil dyeing, and uses

two of his kimonos to explain basics of kimono design: ‘Furisode’, the ceremonial kimono for  an unmarried woman; and ‘Houmongi’, the formal visiting kimono for women.

In the ‘Furisode’ arabesque patterns are used, which are originally Mesopotamian, coming to Japan centuries ago across India and China. ‘Gofun’, a white powder originally from a shell, is used extensively to highlight colours. In the ‘Houmongi’, he modified both a wave painted by Koetsu (1558-1637), and ivy leaves by Korin OGATA  (1658-1716).   

The Westernisation of Japan from the middle of the 19th century is often blamed for the decline of kimono wearing among people in Japan. This may be the case, but Western chemical dyes and refined glues made it possible to make kimono quickly and cheaply.

If you go to Kyoto in summer, you may see many foreign tourists, and some Japanese young ones, wearing yukata, cotton kimono for hot and humid summer. Where lies the kimono industry’s future? He and his wife, Junko, recently started a new business of reforming kimono. They were recently invited by Japan Desk Scotland to visit Bucharest, Romania, to run a workshop on stencil dyeing for Bucharest University students learning Japanese and a seminar on kimono for the general public, which turned out to be popular among the participants.     

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Camera: Fumi Nakabachi
Directed and Edited by: Yushin Toda
Produced by Fumi Nakabachi and Yushin Toda, Japan Desk Scotland
28 minutes
In Japanese with English subtitles
© Japan Desk Scotland 2017

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This is part of our documentary films production. This has been screened:

(1) on Tuesday 20th June 2017 at the Interfaith Room, University of Glasgow Chaplaincy, Glasgow, Scotland, as part of ‘Inclusive Glasgow – Documentaries’;

(2) on Wednesday 8th November 2017 at the Department of Japanese Language and Literature, University of Bucharest, Romania, for the second-year students;

(3) on Monday 27th November 2017 at the ‘Japanese Club’, Cumbernauld Academy, North Lanarkshire, Scotland, as part of a workshop on fashion;

(4) on Wednesday 24 January 2018 at Moving Image Archive, National Library of Scotland, Kelvin Hall, Glasgow, Scotland, as part of ‘Japanese Journeys@Kelvin Hall’,

(5) on Tuesday 20 November 2018 at Department of Japanese Language and Literature (the first-year Masters students), University of Bucharest, Bucharest, Romania;

(6) on 22 November 2018 at Department of Japanese Language and Literature (the first-year students), University of Bucharest, Bucharest, Romania;

(7) on Wednesday 9 January 2019 at Moving Image Archive, National Library of Scotland, Kelvin Hall, Glasgow, Scotland, as part of Japanese Craft Documentaries;

(8) on Thursday 31 January 2019 at Kirkintilloch Town Hall, East Dunbartonshire, Scotland, as part of ‘Scotland & Japan Heritage Connection – Rita and Masataka’;

(9) on Tuesday 4 June 2019 at University of Glasgow Chapel, Glasgow, Scotland, as part of Japanese Craft Documentaries co-organised by University of Glasgow Chaplaincy and Japan Desk Scotland, as a part of the West End Festival;

(10) on Tuesday 26 November 2019 at the International Study meeting held in the Interfaith Room, University of Glasgow Chaplaincy, Glasgow, Scotland; and

(11) on Wednesday 15 January 2020 at Moving Image Archive, National Library of Scotland, Kelvin Hall, Glasgow, Scotland, as part of “Voices Heard (documentaries)”.