Shibori – Tie-dyeing

Shibori is the Japanese term (from the word meaning “to squeeze or wring”) for the dye-resist technique of binding, clamping, or gathering the cloth so that the dye cannot reach certain parts. The result is the most powerful of combinations a carefully structured design with the organic freedom of the unpredictable.


Shibori Museum


Arimatsu Narumi Shibori

Although the sophisticated technique of tie-dyeing called shibori itself dates back to the Nara-era (710-794), the history of the craft here only goes back some 400 years, to when the feudal lord from the province of Bungo, now Oita Prefecture, was ordered to assist in the building of Nagoya castle.

Under the protection of the Owari clan, which ruled the area that became Aichi Prefecture, the craft was developed over the years, a whole variety of techniques having been added to produce a high quality tie-dyed craft of distinction. Because everything is done by hand, the finished article has its own peculiarities depending on the way a person ties up the cloth even when the design is the same.

Typical of cotton tie-dyeing, there are some 100 different tying techniques used in the production of multicolored designs for formal kimono and unlined yukata. The most representative of these techniques are nui shibori, kumo shibori, miura shibori, kanoko shibori or the well known “fawn spot” tie-dyeing, and sekka shibori. A very particular effect is produced by varying the strength of the dye when indigo is used. Among the 450 people employed there are 30 government recognized Master Craftsmen, all managed by the 65 firms now sustaining this craft industry.

Ms. Sumiko Inoue was born in 1935 in Hokkaido. After having learnt Japanese and western dressmaking, Sumiko married the owner of Inoue Clothing Store. In 1971, she started Inoue Hand Knitting School after she obtained the Sakiori Teaching Certificate from the Nanbu Sakiori Preservation Society. In 2002, she was accredited as the Aomori Traditional Craft Master and, in 2005, she opened Hachinohe Nanbu Sakiori KOUBOU “CHOU.” Since 2011, Ms. Inoue has owned a craft shop at the Craft Studio of Hachinohe Portal Museum hacchi. There, she passes on Nanbu Sakiori to broad generations by sponsoring workshops and making Sakiori craft items