Japan Tour 2018 – Day 16


Japan Tour 2018 – Day 16 – Kogan Stitching a development from Sashiko. This type of stitching is only in the Tsugaru area in northern Japan and that’s the reason we are here. It differs from the sashiko that I’ve seen before is the patterns but it is done with a blunt needle and the threads of the foundation cloth are counted. Sashiko with which I’ve been slightly familiar is done with a sharp pointed needle. It was usually done with a thick white thread on indigo fabric. It was interesting to find out that when it got old and dirty it was over dyed with indigo. The stitches were still there but barely seen if it was dyed a very dark shade.

We started out with breakfast at Starbucks which was in an old historic building and not having a plan but we knew we wanted to see the kogin fabric and maybe sashiko as well. A stop at the visitors bureau on the way back to our hotel gave us some leads marked on a map. We chose this shop which turned into a gold mine. We forgot to take pictures as what happens when one gets involved so here is the business card with the contact information. Minako Hikima’s shop had lovely things to sell as well as supplies for stitching. After some conversation she offered to take us to a famous kogin teacher and see her wonderful collection of old kimono fabrics. What luck for us!!

This is where we were taken. We had tried to get here twice but the phone recording said only by reservation so it was really lucky for us that we got to go there. It is the gallery of Mrs. Yoko Sato famous as an artist collector and teacher. It was just grand to see and learn about so many of the patterns used and the histories of the different types. A video at the end of this post shows her stitching and the interesting way it’s done and how she uses the needle.

On the way from our last stop at an indigo shop we saw this man cleaning up after pruning this big pine tree. There was a huge amount of pine needles to sweep up. I’m told they pluck individual needles to accomplish such gorgeous trees in Japan.

For dinner we chose a place we saw last night but it was fully booked. We tried our hotel and they didn’t serve dinner but suggested a little place down the street. We peeked in and went into a small neighborhood sushi and yakatoti restaurant where a customer welcomed us and bought us a bottle of sake. We were quite the topic of conversation and they were surprised we could use chopsticks. And we all did pretty good with sign language and laughter. Here we are after finishing off the sake.

Here’s the video of Mrs Sato stitching. Notice how she holds the needle and uses her special needle and how she tensions the stitching.

5 thoughts on “Japan Tour 2018 – Day 16”

  1. Very nice video you have made. I get the feeling that the Japanese are taking the time to try to properly document and preserve this heritage fiber art. In the Philippines the DOST PTRI (Department of Science Philippine Textile Research Institute) is the spear head for government support of the traditional fiber arts but it really is up to the weavers and artisans who sell their products to also do their part in keeping it alive. What is the Japanese equivalent, if there is one, to PTRI? Do they have a web page? Best regards, Mike

  2. All of your posts on this trip have been so enjoyable and chock full of new and interesting information. Thanks so much for sharing with us. This stitching video is particularly wonderful.

  3. Peggy this stitching reminds me of Assissi work, which was with a blunt needle through linen. Most interesting and I am amazed at the continuation of methods and patterns.

  4. Thank you, I always feel a little like I’m tagging along on your fun! The fabric looks coarser than I expected. Can you give an idea of the sett or compare to a known fabric? Thanks


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