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JAPANESE TRADITIONAL CRAFTS

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Tokyo Some Komon

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Mon originally means crest. In Muromachi era (approx. 500 – 600 years ago), samurai leaders started to dye their crest on their armors. Then they also started to actually wear kimonos with their crest dyed to express their royalty and pride.

Later, when Edo period (1603-1867) began, the tradition of using their crest on their clothes spread especially to Daimyos, feudal lords, who gathered in Edo for an alternate-year attendance. This is the beginning of Tokyo Some Komon.

Later, Edo citizens also began to ware Komon kimonos, but they could chose more various patterns since they were free from crest, and Tokyo Some Komon artisans developed stylish patterns.

Komon was first only for men, but later, women started to wear this kind of kimono since they were cool and elegant even though the coloring was simple.

In Meiji(1868-1912), when samurai status was banned and men started to ware plain western clothes, Tokyo Some Komon became mostly for women.

The customers has been changed, but the production method has not changed a bit. Handmade paper is piled up by persimmon tannin to form the basement of pattern paper. Artisans plan the designs, and express the design on the pattern paper by gimlets and small knives.

The fabric usually used is silk. Carved pattern paper is set on the silk clothe and starch paste put on to protect the pattern from dyed. After starch paste was set, the silk clothe is dyed and steamed for fixing, then washed well.

The features of Tokyo Some Komon is the elaborate decoration which is realized by the workmanship by skillful artisans. It is astonishing that the patterns are very edgy and distinct even though they are so small.

Tokyo Some Komon was designated as Traditional Craft by METI (Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry) in 1976.


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