Chichibu-meisen silk

Chichibu-meisen silk Chichibu meisen

Meisen with wonderful bold patterns created by the Hogushi Nassen method
Hiraori creates an iridescent luster on both sides


What is Chichibu-meisen silk ?

Chichibu Meisen is a textile produced in the area of Yokoze-machi, Ogano-machi, Minano-machi and Nagatoro-machi in Chichibu County, Chichibu City, Saitama Prefecture.
Chichibu Meisen is a plain-woven textile with both sides of the textile dyed equally because the threads are stencil dyed. Since both sides are dyed equally, the textile can be washed and remade as a kimono numerous times. This durability resulted in the popularity of the textile among the common people. Raw silk, dupioni raw silk, threads spun from floss silk, or spun silk made from waste cocoons and waste raw silk are used for Chichibu Meisen. Ordinary people are fond of the textile because they can wear it casually and for a long time because it is woven with materials that are not so expensive.
Meisen with a pattern is called Hogushi Nassen because it is dyed after basting. The weaver has to remove the weft threads used for basting so the weaving method is called Hogushiori (loosen and weave).
The charm of Chichibu Meisen is the iridescent luster of the textile. The warp threads and the weft threads are in different colors and this difference in color creates the sheen. The more complementary the warp and weft thread colors, the better the effect.


It is said that the origin of Chichibu Meisen goes back to the Emperor Suijin (97BC – 30BC). Chichibu Hikonomikoto originally brought the technology of sericulture and weaving to the area. Chichibu is surrounded by mountains so it was difficult to grow rice. Therefore, sericulture became successful in this area. Futo-ori was the textile woven for farmers’ everyday clothing and it became popular. It was called Oni Chichibu and worn by the common people. While it was popular among the common people, samurai warriors also valued the fine and durable characteristics of the textile.
Futo-ori became Chichibu Meisen and the combination of the tradition that had been handed down and improved technology made the textile more popular. From the -Meiji period (1868 – 1912) to the early Showa period (1926 – 1989) the popularity of Chichibu Meisen spread widely. That was the peak period for the textile. Once Hogushi Nassen technology was developed and Soichiro Sakamoto patented the technology in 1908, bold and elaborate designs became popular throughout Japan. People love Chichibu Meisen because the Hiraori textile enables them to wear it on both sides and it can be remade many times as a kimono. In the final stage it can still be used for children’s diapers or as cleaning cloths.

General Production Process

Chichibu-meisen silk - General Production Process

Where to Buy & More Information

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