sakai kitchen's challenge to bring inherited craftsmanship to the world (Part 2)


Two techniques discovered in Sakai, Osaka: “Japanese Sarashi” and “Chusen” will brighten up your life.

A project launched as an effort to improve the brand power of traditional industries in Sakai City, Osaka Prefecture, and to have more people know about and use them.sakai kitchen(Sakai Kitchen)”. We followed the process at a Japanese-style workshop that is participating in the project and enjoys bright colors and rustic textures.

The process from cotton to finished product is ``Japanese bleaching''.
For interiors that suit modern life


In the past, ``sarashi'' in Japan was used as a material for daily necessities such as yukata, hand towels, diapers, and dish towels. However, not many people may know that Sakai City, Osaka Prefecture, is a major production center for Sarashi. The southern part of Osaka Prefecture has flourished as a cotton production area since ancient times. Inevitably, techniques for removing impurities and bleaching cotton fabrics were developed, and ``Japanese bleaching'' was particularly popular in Sakai, which has the Ishizu River with abundant water. One of the reasons for Sakai's development is that it is located between the cotton producing region and the commercial center of Osaka City.


Even now, there are seven Japanese Sarashi factories lined up along the Ishizu River, and Sankyo Sarashi is one of them. According to the 4th generation owner, Yasushi Nakano, these seven businesses still provide more than 90% of Japanese sarashi sales in Japan.

exposed exposed

Woven fabrics made in Osaka and Aichi,textile factoryBecause the items are transported by our own company, they arrive at the warehouse naked. The raw cotton before being degreased repels water and impurities are still visible.

The newly made cotton fabric has a yellowish, so-called ecru color and contains impurities and fat. thisBy cooking it in boiling water for about 3 days``Wazara'' is the process of removing desizing and bleaching by passing water and chemicals through it. In the past, cooking was done using coal-fired Goemon pots, but now stable heating is done through computer control.


In a huge cauldronLong timeContinue steaming. The environment is harsh, with indoor temperatures sometimes reaching 50 degrees Celsius in the summer. The fabric is then dehydrated in a centrifuge, sewn together by hand, passed through a heated cylinder to dry, and then folded and arranged. In this way, it is finally possible to send it to the next ``dyeing'' process.


The fabric is then dehydrated in a centrifuge, sewn together by hand, passed through a heated cylinder to dry, and then folded and arranged. In this way, it is finally possible to send it to the next ``dyeing'' process.

centrifuge centrifuge

The heavy cloth soaked with water is transferred from the kiln to a centrifuge and packed tightly. Although it looks like they are moving in rhythm with each other, it is quite hard work.

ミ シ ン ミ シ ン

Three people worked together to separate the long pieces of cloth and use a sewing machine to sew the ends together, using a small tag to prevent folding. Because the length is 120 to 150 meters, a colored tag is inserted between every five pieces.

Wrap it around a steam-heated cylinder to dry. As it passes through the bellows through 10 rollers, any remaining moisture evaporates and it becomes crispy and dry.

folding machine folding machine

The dried bleach is immediately sent to the Jarl Tatami machine. It is 70-155cm wide and neatly folded and ready for delivery.

It goes without saying that in modern times, the lifestyle of Japanese people has changed, and the demand for sarashi has decreased.


``There used to be 1000 companies in Izumi.Kotoba textile factoryThere were 24 companies now. Only four of them have successors. If things continue like this, there will be no future for peripheral companies like us.”


Rather than focusing on B2021B, we should start the retail business. Thinking so, Nakano released his own brand “WASIL” in January XNUMX.


“WASIL” is a fabric art using Japanese bleached cloth. The Japanese bleach is mercerized using a special machine, and illustrations and photographs are dyed using various techniques on the smooth, glossy surface. It is an interior that can be used freely as a tapestry, table centerpiece, or framed.


Mercerization increases the color saturation and strength of the fabric. The bright colors of "WASIL" give it a unique look when framed.

中 中

In modern times, the main uses of Washarasu are live goods for artists, headbands for inbound demand, yukatas and happi coats for festivals...all of which have had to be canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. “We developed WASIL at a rapid pace, which was in the planning stages,” says Nakano.

``With WASIL, we have not only adopted Japanese patterns but also Western designs to suit modern lifestyles.As we live without nightwear or cloths, it is natural for the purpose of bleach to change.For the next era. I want to convey the goodness of bleaching in a different way.”



“FABRIC FRAME”, which will be newly announced in March 2022, is a three-dimensional modern art that utilizes scrap materials. Wrinkling the pure white bleached scraps, gathering knots, and rolling them up...the soft expressions that fill the square canvas are like a bridge that gently connects the past and the present.


"FABRIC FRAME" 35cm x 35cm panels can be lined up to enjoy different expressions.From the rightshiwa""ito"" kukuru""pattern. "

``Chusen'' dyes a large amount of bleach at once.
Traditional techniques of rationalism unique to Osaka


There are many dyeing methods, but ``Chusen'', which was born in Osaka during the Meiji period, is a multi-colored dyeing technique that takes into account the characteristics of Japanese dyeing. First of all, dyeing is different from printing on the surface of the cloth, as it is dyed from the thread, so the color appears on both sides. Chusen dyeing involves pouring the dye onto the layered cloth, making it possible to dye up to 50 bleached sheets in multiple colors at once without overlapping plates, and it is said that production increased significantly after the development of chusen.


``This rationality is very Osaka! (lol)'' laughs Fumi Kuma of Nakani, a dyeing and printing company founded in 1966.Kuma had already known about tenugui, but when he helped out at Nijiyura's event, he was shocked to find that there was such a dye.



“I was born and raised in the Kansai region and loved tenugui, but I didn’t know anything about chusen.When I joined the company, I was involved in a project for our own brand ``Nijiyura,'' and I wanted to spread the appeal of chusen and tenugui. That’s what I thought.”

For a long time For a long time

Fumi Kuma is the Nijiyura brand manager and product planning department manager. She has three other designers.

What makes chusen dyeing so different from regular dyeing is the streamlined procedure that allows up to 50 pieces to be dyed at the same time. Mask the cloth with glue while folding it into a bellows shape, and create a bank on the top cloth with glue to block the dye. If you pump the dye from below at the same time as it flows, the dye will be sucked straight down in an instant. To dye the thread from the other side, turn the entire piece over and repeat the same process from the other side. Each task is delicate, but surprisingly efficient and precise.

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A ``glue holder'' involves placing a mold on a bleached surface and spreading the glue in one breath with a wooden spoon.

Tsubondo Tsubondo

The process of building banks with glue at the boundaries between colors is called ``tsubondo.'' The banks prevent the dye from spreading unnecessarily.

At the same time as you pour in the dye, use your foot to operate the compressor and suck it up from below. The dye passes through the fabric all at once and dyes it instantly. When finished, flip it over and repeat the same process from the other side.


This revolutionary method is actually made possible by the characteristics of ``Japanese Sarashi''. Wazarashi is steamed slowly without applying pressure, so the fibers remain fluffy without being crushed. Because the dye can easily pass through the threads, it can be dyed instantly.


The dyed bleach is washed and dehydrated in the ``river'' inside the workshop. It goes without saying that one of the reasons Sakai and Chusen developed in Sakai is because of the rivers that have abundant fresh water. Finally, the pieces are hung to dry using a unique method called ``date drying'', which is hung from a height of 7 to 8 meters, and then the pieces are cut and completed.

cloth cloth

The tenugui before cutting is 7 to 8 meters tall even when folded back. The sight of the colorful cloth hanging down is spectacular.

The origin of the original dyed tenugui brand "Nijiyura" is "nijidari, yuraidari". This is a coined word that describes the color characteristic of chusen. It was established in 2007 to spread the word about chūsen tenugui, which are thin yet durable, breakable by hand, and highly fashionable.


"You can wipe it, wrap it, decorate it... Tenugui, which can be enjoyed so much with a single piece of cloth, is a rare culture in the world. It's all about the joy of chusen, and my desire for people to learn more about it and use it," says Kuma. talk.

Towel Towel

The pattern is called boulangerie Esquisse-France. The illustrations of baguettes, Danish pastries, and canelés are stylish.

The pattern is "The world we live in." It's cute, but it has a unique worldview.

Soon, collaboration projects and orders for original products from companies began to come in, and ``Nijiyura'' grew to the point where it had six directly managed stores. Gradually, other companies in Sakai are also starting to develop their own brands, and Kuma feels the town is becoming more and more popular.


``A few years ago, there was a change in the number of craftsmen at our company, and women and young people started working in the workshop.I feel relieved that we were able to pass on the skills for the time being.I hope that Sakai as a whole will continue to thrive and develop new skills. I hope we can preserve all of the buildings, tools, and surrounding industries."


Tradition, youthful sensibility and energy. With these experiences as fuel, the future of Sakai Kitchen will continue to open up.


(Titles omitted)

Text by Aki Fujita
Photography by Noriko Kawase

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