Kijoka No BashofuKijoka Banana Fiber Cloth

It is thought that abaca cloth has been already made in the about thirteenth century, but it becomes in the early modern times to have spread out among people and is after.
We planted tree of Basho in garden and field of house, and housewife and daughters wove private cloth. When the 19th century began, silk and cotton came to be sold, but, as for the abaca cloth, were got close to people as ever. Kijoka No Bashofu inheriting this tradition catches general designation of important intangible cultural asset of country designation in 1974.

It seems that banana fiber cloth was already being made around the 13th century but it was much later that it became popular. In the old days banana trees were planted in gardens and fields, and the womenfolk of a family wove it into fabric for home use. Silk and cotton became much more readily available during the 19th century but people still enjoyed wearing banana fiber cloth. Kijoka no Bashofu, which carries on these traditions, was designated as a cultural property by the Prefecture in 1972 and two years later in 1974 it was made an important intangible cultural property by the nation.

Woven from fibers taken from the banana tree, banana fiber cloth is highly representative of the weaving of Okinawa. It was very popular for making a piece of summer-weight formal dress called kamishimo in the Edo period (1600-1868) and being light and comfortable to wear, it is still a great favorite with many people today for kimono in the height of summer. But kimono are not its only use. Some is made into obi, while other pieces make fine cushion covers. Ties, bags and table centers are also made of this engaging cloth, which also makes fine split curtains or noren.

  • Notification

    skills and techniques

    Assume Woven textiles woven by the next technique or technique.

    "mushihiki comes" from itobasho, and thread to use for the warp and weft does, and do with Basho thread which did "the hand sea".

    Assume texture organization plain weave or fabric with a mosaic waving pattern.

    When you dye, you are yarn-dyed, and stop by.

    When use cloth with splashed pattern thread, staining of cloth with splashed pattern thread "binds hand"; niyorukoto.

    Raw materials

    Assume thread to use Basho thread.

  • Work scenery

    Abaca cloth has a long production process, and we are made by accumulation of difficult work. We bring up thread Basho becoming raw materials of thread and we cut down trunk and take fiber, and * nde dyes thread and weaves and finishes. The distance before weaving is very long.

    Process 1: We tear off cultivation and mushi (u) of thread Basho

    Thread Basho performs 2-3 times, leaf last joke and core end in year to soften fiber. mushi (u) is fiber of thread Basho. We cut down trunk of mature thread Basho and skin. As fiber is coarse in the outside, to tablecloths, the inside uses part called inside nahagu for piece goods for one kimono to obi and tie.

    Process 2: mushikashigi comes

    We let lye boil in large pan and spread rope at bottom. We bundle up split and can enter and we close the cap and boil for several hours. Addition and subtraction of alkalinity of lye are difficult work. We wash in water if cooked and drop lye.

    Process 3: mushihiki comes

    We take fiber out of the skin. We tear skin in two or three pieces and stroke with A bitoiu bamboo scissors. Hard fiber and thing which is on of color do soft fiber for the warps to weft. We gather up in a circle after drying in the shade.

    Process 4: Twisting hemp

    * looks at thread from fiber which we rounded. We dip into water and lighten and overcharge and, at nail and finger-tip, tear fiber along sinew from root. Thickness is decided depending on use of thread. We tear in standard length of cloth for kimono use extremely thin. We tie fiber and fiber which we tore with plane end and do to thread. We strongly pull so that thread does not fall out. We cut thread released to knot into short pieces. It is work to take time most, and to need perseverance.

    Process 5: For twist, we warp

    We hang twist in spinning wheel that cloth with splashed pattern thread of the warp and weft prevents fluffing and does soundly. We perform while moistening by sprayer. If twist is weak, we become fluffy and become hard to weave. On the contrary, it is hard to devote itself, and cloth with splashed pattern alignment becomes hard to assume that twist is too strong. Prepare the length of the thread; warp.

    Process 6: Cloth with splashed pattern end

    We put thread aside and put shaku skewer and wind up skin of Basho on part not to dye. We wind string from the top and grow. As thread is cut when too strong-minded, and dye enters if loose, experience is necessary work. Skin of this Basho is called "ubasagara".

    Process 7: Dyeing

    We use Rhaphiolepis umbellata (titi) and Ryukyu indigo plant for dye mainly. We put trunk and branch which we cut finely in the large pan with water, and Rhaphiolepis umbellata decocts. We soak cloth with splashed pattern thread into dye and we dry for seven minutes and do. We repeat dyeing many times while sometimes adding steaming until it becomes color that we liked. 30 times repeat themselves even at least.

    Process 8: Preparations for texture

    If dyeing is over, we untie cloth with splashed pattern tied up and we set according to design and put through temporary reed. It slips off and winds off while being careful not to get loose. Heddle is consecutive and does reed all through.

    Process 9: Texture

    As thread is cut when we dry, we weave by sprayer while giving moisture. In May, season of the rainy season of June is suitable for texture most.

    Process 10: Washing

    We wash cloth which we wove in water. Then, we put in the large pan and boil with lye. We wash in water and dry. We dip into rice vinegar (yunaji) which let porridge and rice flour ferment and neutralize. We wash with water if we do for approximately two hours and do to dry for seven minutes. We fix cloth width by hand. Finally we press and are completion.



  • Close-up

    The making of abaca cloth beginning with joy to conflict with soil

    As for one piece, abaca cloth which brown cloth with splashed pattern was contained in in the unbleached ground may want to obtain all the women. This good cloth of ventilation fully hangs trouble and time lightly crisply from place bringing up Basho and is made.


    "Such beautiful cloth is rare now"

    Points and field of Basho are seen on the right side when we go north more from Nago while seeing the sea of cobalt blue by car to the left hand from Naha for two hours. It is thread Basho becoming raw materials of thread of abaca cloth. We cut down trunk with tree similar to banana and take fiber.
    Toshiko Taira of living national treasure worked among other people in hand in spool silently when we visited Kijoka No Bashofu hall. Small-sized figure walking around large room hardly looks like 81 years old youthfully.
    Abaca cloth has a long process before being completed and is cloth needing trouble and mastery of skills as we cannot believe. We bring up Basho and take fiber, and * nde dyes thread and weaves. As perception by experience is necessary, we cannot wear the skill when we do not repeat monotonous work for years. Finished cloth is slightly flexible after trouble and is beauty that sigh is reflected on.
    It was Muneyoshi Yanagi to have introduced charm of abaca cloth into the world widely. We begin "abaca cloth story" in one sentence, "such beautiful cloth is rare now.". In the present age, there are many people becoming captive on seeing work of Toshiko. Natural color may come to sense of the present person seeking things that pattern of cloth with splashed pattern that texture of dry cloth is simple is more natural nicely.

    Kyoko Taira who ties up cloth with splashed pattern with skin of Basho quickly

    It is fun just to touch thread

    We asked Kyoko Taira who made abaca cloth with Toshiko, and was 14 years story. It is said that Kyoko was familiar with tool from old days as mother and aunt did Woven textiles. We liked handwork and did handicrafts and mud play while working as kindergarten teacher, but we wanted to do more deeply and entered way of abaca cloth.
    Kyoko who talked in low voice modestly seemed to be completely fascinated with Basho.
    "We entered and did filature for one week. It was fun and felt good just to touch thread. Will fiber of Basho have charms? It is the result or does not have a painful memory until now"
    When there was cloth with splashed pattern of pattern of swallow for the first time when we begin to weave, and two years passed, it is said that we were glad at all.

    Texture has a long a one-100th, it of the whole

    It "is gone down in place begun with field. Because we maintain cloth ninarumadeo from soil and can see. There is joy that can always conflict with megumi of nature of land."
    Tree of Basho of 200 is necessary to take thread for one. As is said that good thread is from good field, the first stage when cultivation of thread Basho is important. We put manure, and work to cut off leaf and core is indispensable. All people of studio sometimes appear in field and work on a farm all day.
    It is tough more until we harvest and make thread. When we skin and stew with large pan, we have time-consuming work for any process. The preparations are much longer than texture. It is said that "texture was told Toshiko with a one-100th of the whole" as for Kyoko.
    As "stage of one one sounds next, hand does not fall out. It becomes product which should think about the next work"
    Plant that only southern country has Basho liking high temperature and humidity. The touch that was fluent though it was dry was comfortable when we touched with thread. Kyoko thinks that she wants to take good care of Okinawa unique texture using material which there was in climate all the time from now on.
    "We want to finish by the end of today"
    We returned to work of cloth with splashed pattern end at a quick pace while murmuring this.

    Craftsman profile

    Kyoko Taira (flat Kyoko)

    It was born in 1952. We apply for successor upbringing business and acquire experience of 14 years with Toshiko Taira.


    Pattern of cloth with splashed pattern which is unique with simplicity

    As for the pattern of cloth with splashed pattern of abaca cloth, motif is chosen from living and nature. It is pleasant to see one by one. We were taught origins of name by Mieko Taira of Kijoka abaca cloth business cooperative association's director.
    We use "wheatear" for obi material and grow so that pattern comes on drum. It was that it might be named because "go Mahy" called person who walked by bandy-legs about thing which surrounded the circumference in this way. "Hoe (small wa) nkaki" writes, "ring takes" and is ranging design such as chain. "Bee Joe" is said whether he did not come from pattern of cloth with splashed pattern of Hachijojima.
    There are other tuiguwa (small bird), many kinds including jindama (a money coin). Anything is simple thing, but it is likely that it is more complicated and may do in combination how old you are.

    • Hoe (small wa) nkaki

    • Wheatear



Industrial art object name Kijoka No Bashofu
Phonetic symbol kijokanobashofu
Classification of industrial art object Woven textiles
Main product Kimono place, obi, cushion, tie, bag, noren, table center
Main production area Okinawa / Kunigami-gun Oge taste village
The designation date June 9, 1988

Contact information

■local production associations

Kijoka abaca cloth business cooperative association
454, Kijoka, Ogimi-son, Kunigami-gun, Okinawa
TEL: 0980-44-3033
FAX: 0980-44-3251

■Associated exhibit space, facility


Abaca cloth to finish weaving using fiber removed from thread Basho is representative Woven textiles of Okinawa. We attracted the Edo era as old ceremonial dress (catch as for doing) in the summer. It is light and smooth feel is unique and is used habitually as kimono of the midsummer widely now.

Bashofu is a typical clothings of Okinawa made from fibers stripped from Itobasho (musa liukiuensis). It was popular as summer clothings during Edo period. It is still popular as summertime kimono as they are light and smooth touched.

How to make

We divide stem of thread Basho which we brought up for three years into four kinds and cook with ash (mokuhai) and we stroke with bamboo scissors and take impurities and do to fiber. We tear fiber of less than 1m finely and we do and tie to plane (hata) end one by one. We perform twist of riokake, cloth with splashed pattern end and dye in natural dye. After being handwoven, we refine in ash again and wash after dipping into rice vinegar and finish hand nobashide. Abaca cloth begins with cultivation of raw wood in field and becomes cloth after long process.

Stems of three year old Itobasho are split into four parts, boiled and removed any impurities before fibers are taken out. The fibers are tied with a weaver’s knot to make them longer as each fiber is less than 1 meter long. The threads are twisted and ikat dyed with natural dyes. After it is hand woven, they are refined by wood ash, washed by rice vinegar and finished by stretching using hand. It takes a long time from the cultivation of Itobasho to completion of fabrics.

Voice from production center

"Abaca cloth story" of Muneyoshi Yanagi has the following one paragraph. "Such beautiful cloth is rare now. Only this cloth is always genuine. We wish that Kijoka No Bashofu wants to continue being genuine. We would appreciate your preparing upper gekurikoshiotappuritotori in in what shrink when we wash longer.