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Tokyo Tegaki Yuzen (hand-printed yuzen)


Yuzen is known as a creation of Miyazaki Yuzensai who was a painter in the early Edo period (1603-1867).

The basic technique is putting starches made from rice to protect from dyeing, and draw picture after the clothes is dyed. The difference from Kyo Yuzen and Kaga Yuzen of Tokyo Tegaki Yuzen is the stylishness in color and drawings.

The history book tells that the beginning of Tokyo Tegaki Yuzen is in the middle of the Edo period, under the rule of the 11th Tokugawa Shogunate, also known as Bunka-Bunsei.

At that time, the center of culture moved to Edo, (Current Tokyo) from Kyoto and various arts and products from Kansai area, which are called “Kudarimono”, were flown in.

Yuzen was one of them. Since Yuzen is hand-printed (drawn) clothes, the biggest effect was from skilled painters who came from all around Japan. Such painters brought their own skills and learned each other, then naturally new style was born.

Another aspect of the characteristic of Tokyo Tegaki Yuzen is its atmosphere. After the time for samurai ended, merchant class culture was developed in Edo. The most important gesture was, actually is, “Iki”, a kind of aesthetics of being chic and stylish, understanding humanity, and expressing simply. It led the fashion simple but unique, too.

The artisans of Tokyo Tegaki Yuzen, thus, have established the sense of simplicity and novelty as their designs and use rather bright but a few colors. To achieve that, techniques such as Itome Yuzen (drawing the contours by starch so that white line remain), Roketsu Zome (batik method), and Musen Gaki (no line so that the impression becomes softer) are preferably used.

Now many artisans and painters are keenly creating new design every day.

Tokyo Tegaki Yuzen was designated as Traditional Craft by METI (Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry) in 1980.

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