Kasuri (Gasuri) is a name for yarn-dyed fabrics of various materials such as cotton, linen, Manira hemp, and silk.
Tokamachi area, southern Niigata prefecture, has been traditionally known as its linen clothes called Chijimi (kasuri clothes with uneven surface).
Tokamachi Gasuri was born by adopting the kasuri technique from Chijimi in the end of 19th century, when Tate Gasuri technique (warp ikat, expressing patterns by the warp) was established.
Later, in the early Meiji period (1868-1912), Yoko Gasuri (weft ikat, expressing patterns by the weft) was also developed and Tokamachi Gasuri also developed its uniqueness.
Still, the production of Tokamachi Gasuri begins with planning of dyeing. The threads are firstly set to a stand for dyeing with rulers, and are stained colors according to the design. Then the stained areas are covered by cotton thread or rubber to protect from overall dyeing.
For actual weaving, the dyed yarns carefully set to a weaving machine and skilled artisans weave it with checking each patterns.
The patterns are pretty sophisticated since Yoko Gasuri and Tate Gasuri are combined very minutely. In addition, the beautiful but calm shine of silk attracts many Kimono fans. Usually Tokamachi Gasuri is loved as daily and street clothes.
Tokamacih Gasuri was designated as Traditional Craft by METI (Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry) in 1982.