Hi, everyone! Today, I had a wonderful encounter today, so today I would like to talk about it.
Today, I met Mr. Kiyoshi Kitamura who is a Japanese crest design drawing and a traditional craftsman certificated by Nishijin-ori.He is 81 years old on the active traditional craftsman. He said, “I am still young.” I replied, “eh? No way!” ,but there was a reason why he said that. I will write down about the reason later.
First of all, Nishijin-ori has more than 20 main production processes.
There are roughly 5 main processes : 1) draw a textile design 2)arrange raw materials such as yarns 3) prepare for a weaving machine 4) weave textiles 5)finish processing. Each process is mostly divided, and each specialized craftsman is in charge. The collaboration of many craftsmen is required to complete the textiles.
The design on the first process would be the most important process because Nishijin-ori is a yarn-dyed crest fabric.
Next, in the production of crest design drawing, a work called “Mashie” is performed first. The design shown by the maker is projected onto a type of graph paper called design paper. In this design paper, the grid changes depending on the number of the combinations of weft yarns with respect to the number of jacquard needles that move the warp up and down. As a side note, the number of vertical needles of jacquard used in Nishijin-ori ranges from 400 to 1,800. The largest number is 600 jacquards. We move on to a task called “Hatsuri”. The pattern of the design magnified by the projector and the grid of the warp and weft are carefully painted with paint.The crest design drawing contains not only information that indicates the up and down of the warp yarns, but also all other production information such as the way of using the shuttle for threading the warp and the weaving structure.
Today I could meet Mr. Kitamura who is a Japanese crest design drawing and a traditional craftsman certificated by Nishijin-ori.As I wrote first, he is still active at the age 81 years old. I thought that as expected, craftsmen can work for a long time.He just said, “I’m 81 years old, but still young! !” I was shocked because he asked me to become a Japanese crest design drawing as kidding with his sad face.
Nishijin-ori might be gone after 20 years ! !
I was surprised like “eh? Is it a traditional craft? Why?” And I knew that there were serious concerns about inheriting traditions as an active duty. I witnessed the reality of traditional craftsmen. The problem is that there are no young traditional craftsmen. That’s the reason why I convinced that Mr. Kitamura said, “I’m still young.” I didn’t know much about Nishijin-ori , and in the first place, these days, children don’t understand what Nishiji-ori is ! It’s such a world. As it becomes a clothing culture, Japanese people have less chance to wear kimono, and many people don’t know that kimono is Japanese culture. Even at the Tokyo Olympics, we rarely see kimono. Nowadays, I was hurt because the view of manga and anime has conveyed Japanese culture to the world. The number of people who inherit the tradition of Nishijin-ori is decreasing, and it seems that veteran craftsmen are still doing the underlaying work that they did when they were young. Veteran craftsmen are now the elderly. The current situation is that even if you want to inherit the tradition, you cannot inherit it.
What I can do is to convey the charm of Nishijin-ori here, and hope that many people will read it… I was just filled with such feeling.I wanted to continue to convey the charm of Nishijin-ori, and do my best to make the charm of Nishijin-ori stick to someone’s heart.