Bashofu - A Traditional Craft of Okinawa
This video, titled "手技TEWAZA「喜如嘉の芭蕉布」Kijoka Banana fiber Cloth／伝統工芸 青山スクエア Japan traditional crafts Aoyama Square," was released by Japan Traditional Crafts Aoyama.
Bashofu is a cloth woven from the fiber of the Japanese banana plant.
Most of Bashofu is made in Okinawa Prefecture and the Amami Islands, and in particular, the Kijoka area of Ogimi Village in Okinawa Prefecture is a major production area referred to as "Bashofu no Sato" (lit. "The Village of Bashofu").
The History of Okinawa's Bashofu
The origin of Bashofu is not 100% clear, but it is known that it was already being made with advanced technology in Ryukyu by the 16th century.
The royalty and warriors of the Ryukyu Kingdom used to wear lavish costumes.
Their wives were said to have worn beautiful Bashofu garments.
Throughout its long history, Bashofu has continued to be made in Okinawa as we know it today.
The handmade bashofu of Kijoka is especially beautiful and the detail of the artisans is absolutely astonishing.
Purchasing Traditional Handmade Bashofu
It takes a long time to produce traditional Bashofu, so only about 119,000 sq. meters of it are produced each year.
However, in order to spread the beautiful texture of Bashofu, efforts are being made to pass on techniques and train successors.
Kijoka's Bashofu, known as Okinawa's traditional fabric, is sold as a variety of traditional handicrafts on the island.
In addition to traditional kimonos and obis, modern shirts, bags, key chains, tapestries, and other accessories are also available.
In addition to buying a kimono, you can also make your own custom-made item using scraps of kimono fabric.
Summary of Kijoka-Bashofu
As you can see in the video, Okinawa's Kijoka-Bashofu is a beautiful and delicate traditional craft.
At the Bashofu Museum in Ogimi Village, you can learn more about the traditional skills and techniques of the artisans who weave Bashofu.
When you visit Kijoka, be sure to visit the Bashofu Museum to learn more about one of Okinawa's industries, the traditional Japanese craft of Bashofu!