Textile Society of America


Date of this Version



Published in The Social Fabric: Deep Local to Pan Global; Proceedings of the Textile Society of America 16th Biennial Symposium. Presented at Vancouver, BC, Canada; September 19 – 23, 2018. https://digitalcommons.unl.edu/tsaconf/

doi 10.32873/unl.dc.tsasp.0042


Copyright © 2018 by the author


Hand painted yūzen dyeing and other types of yūzen dyeing are considered the main dyeing methods among Kyoto textiles. They were developed between the mid-17th century and early 20th century and are still used for the kimono. The kimono and its textiles were spotlighted in Western countries when Japan opened the country to the West in the late 19th century and had been popular into the early 20th century. Westerns collected them, wore them, or used them as motifs of their art works. Japanese also took Western motifs in the kimono textile designs, which in turn attracted Westerners. In the latter half of the 20th century, however, as more Western clothing was adopted by Japanese women who had conned the kimono earlier, the kimono became isolated from the Western fashion trends and from Westerners. The kimono shifted from everyday casual wear to formal wear made of Kyoto textiles, while yūzen dyeing experienced its production peak in the early 1970s. In order to facilitate the production, the business improved the yūzen dyeing methods (even so, they were still labor intensive, handmade artisanal skills were required) and marketed them as Japanese traditional craftsmanship. But soon, the production started declining and kept declining into the 21st century. In this paper, various yūzen dyeing methods are introduced along with the production trends that were provided by the industry. Additionally, the magazine Utsukushii Kimono (Beautiful Kimono) is reviewed to see if there were any Western effects on the kimono, and how the kimono shifted from casual wear to formal wear for special occasions. The author discusses the future of both kimono outfits and Kyoto textiles, and further proposes that those applications of Kyoto textiles should be archived and marketed to the world as fine art or art-to-wear.