In the Gumma prefecture, resides the Sadao family, the last living family that carries the tradition of Isezaki-Kasuri weaving. We spent an afternoon with Mr. Sadao as he walked us through the meticulous process of creating this handcrafted fabric. Named after the city of Isezaki itself, Isezaki-Kasuri (Kasuri meaning a splashed pattern) is a plain weave using silk thread also known as Isezaki-Meisen.
平織り: Hira-ori or Plain weave is the simplest and most common of textile weaves. It is also known as the Tabby weave. The filling threads and the warp threads interlace alternately, forming a checkboard pattern. These plain fabrics are woven with pre-dyed silk threads, keeping the characteristics of silk. They are woven manually with various techniques ranging from simple splash patterns to more complicated splash patterns.
Silk textiles have been woven here for centuries due to a flourishing silkworm industry. Approximately 250 years ago, the area became busy enough for a city to be established, and textiles were shipped to Edo (now Tokyo) on boats via Tone-gawa River. Although Isezaki owed its growth to textiles, demand for textiles declined drastically as woolen and silk/wool mix kimono fabrics became more popular. Isezaki-Kasuri weaving was designated a traditional craft in 1975.
Author: Aruña Quiroga