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Kumejima-tsumugi (久米島紬) is the Japanese craft of silk cloth practised in Kumejima, Okinawa Prefecture. Kumejima tsumugi has the longest history of the approximately two hundred forms of tsumugi,[1] and is the oldest kasuri fabric.[2] It is recognised as one of the Important Intangible Cultural Properties of Japan.


Silk production was known in Kumejima by the fifteenth century, after a local, having studied sericulture in Ming Dynasty China, transmitted the techniques. The mulberry is said to grow particularly well on the island. By the seventeenth century, Kumejima Tsumugi formed part of the tribute paid to the Ryūkyū Kings, and it was transported to Edo via the Satsuma Domain.[2][3]


Silk floss is extracted from silkworm cocoons and spun by hand into yarn. It is then dyed with the kasuri technique using indigenous plant dyes and a mud mordant to give it its usual black-brown colouring; the plants used are the guru, techika, kurubo or Japanese persimmon, yamamomo, and yuna or cotton tree hibiscus. Finally it is woven with a takahata (高機) loom, and fulled by block.[3][1][2]


In 2004 the Kumejima Kasuri Technique Preservation Society (久米島紬保持団体) was founded and Kumejima-tsumugi was designated one of the Important Intangible Cultural Properties of Japan.[3]

See also


  1. ^ a b "Weaving and Dyeing - Kumejima Tsumugi". Okinawa Prefecture. Retrieved 19 March 2011.
  2. ^ a b c "Kimono - Okinawa". The Cultural Foundation for Promoting the National Costume of Japan. Retrieved 19 March 2011.
  3. ^ a b c "Database of Registered National Cultural Assets". Agency for Cultural Affairs. Retrieved 15 March 2011.