加賀友禅 （Kaga Yuzen)
Kaga Yuzen was created by Miyazaki Yuzensai in Edo period. The traditional manufacturing technology have been taken over by hand through craftsmen and still using the same method.
Around Kaga area, various dyeing industry have been existed since almost 500 years ago. Kaga Yuzen technology was developed based on such historical dyeing technology.
Kaga Yuzen manufactured with nature. Craftsmen washing Kaga Yuzen in the river for the finishing process. It is called Yuzen Nagashi and very famous for the people visits Kanazawa.
Kaga Yuzen clothings are very beautiful and completely different from the clothing manufactured by mass production. It will never realized by mass production. I think it is not just an Kimono but also art. Every process are made by hands with nature.
The manufacturing method is keeping in book.
Kaga Yuzen designs based on nature and traditional patterns depicting picturesque sceneries of Ka-cho-fu-getsu (flowers, birds, wind and moon) are drawn on paper with a pencil in the same size as it will be Kimono.
The design is traced onto a white silk kimono using fine brushes and a natural blue dye (Aobana). Swift movements obtained from intense training are required for this process.
Paste made with glutinous rice (modi-gone, rice for making rice cakes) is put into a Japanese paper tube with a brass tip, and squeezed out to outline the design. At the end, a mist of water is sprayed on and the paste is swiftly dried (Fixing of paste).
Brushes with fine, round and slanted tips are selectively used for different needs while painting the design. The quality of the finished product larger depends on this process; intense concentration is required.
Before dyeing the background, the painted design is coated with paste for protection against getting dyed in the background color. The rice paste is squeezed out from the tube in a circular movement to evenly coat the design.
The cloth is prepared one day ahead by brushing it with the juice of soy beans (background conditioning). Then, using a large brush made with deer hair, the cloth is evenly dyed to avoid any difference in the color, slowly dried, and dyed a few times by repeating this process.
The cloth is put in a large streamer to fix the dyes by streaming it for about one hour. The amount, temperature, and even distribution of the steam are crucial.
The cloth is soaked in water to expand the paste, then the paste and excess dyes are washed out. In earlier days, Yuzen-nagashi (rinsing of Yuzen strips in running water) could be seen at Sai and Asano rivers.
Not only Kimono, but also various products are using Kaga Yuzen. In Kanazawa city, you can find craftsmen house who are creating Kaga yuzen.
Above picture are Kaga yuzen made in Edo priod. It looks like Japanese painting called 水墨画, isn’t it? Craftsmen are also artistic painters.
Pictures are taken at 長町友禅館 which was successor of 彩筆庵.
I visited 彩筆庵 almost 20 years ago, when I was a student of Kanazawa University, I deeply influenced the sensitiveness of Japanese traditional craftsmen skill and technology. It was very important memory for me.