Textile Society of America


Date of this Version



Textile Narratives & Conversions: Proceedings of the 10th Biennial Symposium of the Textile Society of America, October 11–14, Toronto, Ontario


Copyright 2006 by the author.



Miyako Island, located in the Sakishima Islands in Okinawa Prefecture, is known for the production of the Miyako-jofu textile. Miyako-jofu is a hand-woven ikat textile, which is dyed with indigo and woven with dye-resistant yarns of hand-spun ramie. (fig.1) “Jofu” means a ramie textile. In this paper, the dye-resistant process in which designs are reserved in warp or weft yarns by tying off small bundles is called “ikat.”

This study examines what the meaning and the role Miyako-jofu have for the people in Miyako Island and examines the relations between the people and the textile. In other words, this study aims to examine how the textile has been situated in human life until the present, and examine the narrative of the textile in human life.

The research method was as follows. At first, the history of Miyako-jofu was considered from the study of the literature. Next, interviews with the members of Miyako Textile Business Cooperative Association and ten weavers were done in August, 2002 and 2005. This study is examined synthetically from the results of the research.