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Kawamata Silk



Kawamata Silk 川俣シルク ー Fukushima

The silk industry of Kawamata town has a long history of more than 1300 years.
During the Heian period, the silk was known as

Adachi-ginu 安達絹 silk from Adachi,
the regoin around Nihonmatsu in Fukushima

In the beginning of Meiji, when foreighn products were cheaper to get, the silk industry of Japan was greatly reduced.

The producers of Kawamata developed a special kind of very thin thread, only one third the diameter of a human hair, and used it without twisting (yori o kakeru). The material was very soft and shiny, and kept the people warm and dry in winter and summer.

Now they produce material with a thread only one sixth the diameter of a human hair, even finer.

The history of silk production tells of the legend of a princess

Otehime 小手姫 Princess Ote Hime
Koteko 小手子

statue of Otehime in the park in Kawamata

The World’s Thinnest Fabric
The supple Fairy Feather silk developed in Fukushima Prefecture’s town of Kawamata, one of Japan’s most renowned silk production centers, is the thinnest in the world, and so light that it feels like a concentrated layer of air—perhaps even as thin as the legendary hagoromo, or feather mantle, from Japanese folk tales. Fairy Feather is made from 8-denier silk microfibers that are only one-sixth as thick as a human hair (about 50 deniers).

Birthplace of the “Yokohama Scarf”

The town of Kawamata has been known for producing thin silk since ancient times. According to legend, Otehime, the empress-consort of Emperor Sushun 崇峻天皇の時代 (r. 587–92), fled to Kawamata after the emperor was assassinated in 592. There she propagated the arts of sericulture, or silkworm cultivation, and weaving. A text from the mid-seventeenth century says that Kawamata was already widely known as a silk town, and the region began exporting the product internationally in the 1880s.

The manufacture of silk scarves boomed in the port city of Yokohama, and “Yokohama scarves” became famous worldwide, even for a time holding an 80% share of the global market.
Almost half of these so-called Yokohama scarves were actually made from cloth produced in Kawamata.

Fujiwara Kazuichi, head of the Fukushima Prefecture Textile Industry Association, is an authority on the history of Kawamata and its key product. “Sheerness has always been a property of Kawamata silk,” he notes. “Since it was sheer and of high quality, by 1884—just after the Meiji Restoration in 1868—it was already being exported via Yokohama. The selection of Fukushima as the location for the first Bank of Japan branch in the Tōhoku region was because it was a trading center for the raw silk and silk products that were at the time a major export of Kawamata. As the financial center of Tōhoku, it also saw a lot of foreign currency coming in from overseas sales of that silk. But today, production volume has fallen to only one-tenth of what it was at its peak.”

“Much time and many hands are needed before we can make a product and put it on sale. We could not have completed Fairy Feather without the generous assistance of the company dyeing the thread, the company that twists the thread, and the company that refines the cloth. Since the disaster we have all gotten used to hearing the word kizuna, the social bonds that tie us together. I believe that this fabric is truly a grand culmination of kizuna,” Saitō says enthusiastically.

source : www.nippon.com/en


colorful scarfs スカーフ

long scarfs ロングスカーフ

- Reference : www.town.kawamata.lg.jp

薄くきらめく羽衣~福島・川俣シルク - NHKイッピン


Kawamata (川俣町, Kawamata-machi)
is a town in Date District, Fukushima, Japan.

As of the 2012 census, the town has an estimated population of 15,010 and a population density of 120 persons per km². The total area is 127.66 km².

The town is known for its production of silk and silk products. In the late 6th century, Ōtomo no Koteko, also known as Otehime, came to this area. According to tradition, she is honored for having encouraged silk farming in the area.

The town is also known for the cultivation of shamo, a special breed of game bird similar to chicken. Shamo ramen is a local speciality.

Kawamata's main annual event is the Cosquín en Japón festival,
a three-day celebration of traditional Argentinian music and dance, which is held each year in October.

2011 earthquake and tsunami
Kawamata was impacted in a number of ways by the March 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami. As an inland community, the town was not directly affected by the tsunami. However, power outages lasting up to several days (depending on area) occurred. Several buildings, including the municipal office building, suffered significant structural damage and were subsequently evacuated.

The nuclear accident at the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant initially led to the establishment of a 30 km exclusion zone around the power station. Although Kawamata was located outside this region, in April 2011, the Japanese government established additional evacuation areas which included the Yamakiya district of Kawamata.

Kawamata Chicken Festival - Shamo Matsuri 川俣シャモまつり

Annual Events

Kawamata Road Race (June)
Karariko Festa (August) – a street festival to mark Obon, with dancing, fireworks, and live performances
Shamo Matsuri (August)
– a two-day exhibition celebrating the local shamo industry
Traffic Safety Marching Band Parade (September)
Cosquín en Japón (October) – a three-day Andean music festival and concert, featuring performers from around Japan and the world
Kasuga Shrine Festival (October) – two-day autumn street festival

Silk Fair (October) 「川俣」特産品まつり
a two-day open market for silk and other local products

© More in the WIKIPEDIA !


Iooji soba 医王寺そば buckwheat noodle soup from temple Io-Ji
with Kawamata Shamo chicken

The famous chicken from Kawamata was already eaten by haiku poet
. Matsuo Basho 松尾芭蕉 - Archives of the WKD .

. . . CLICK here for Photos !


. . . CLICK here for Photos !

. Reference - Kawamata Silk .


. Mayu Daruma 繭だるま Daruma Silk Cocoon Dolls .

. WKD : Silk (kinu 絹) and related kigo .

. Regional Folk Toys from Japan .

. Tohoku after the BIG earthquake March 11, 2011



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