Ramie, ramie then hemp! Research trips to Ishigaki-jima and Korea (Ishigaki)

August 5, 2014

I had two fiber research trips this early summer.

The first one was to Ishigaki-Jima.  I haven’t been there for a couple of years.

The brand-new airport is built and developed in the neighborhood.

Hand spliced ramie thread.

This trip was planned for my friend who is a fiber researcher.

Our first visit was to Aragaki Studio.

Sachiko Aragaki is a master weaver who reproduced some of the Yaeyama Jofu collection at the Mingei Museum in Tokyo.

We interviewed her about life on the island, the material she uses (ramie), her design concept and the traditions of the island.

Finished Obi, spread in the studio.

Ramie plant growing in the front yard of a Jofu (fine cloth) weaver.

She showed us how to separate the fiber from the plant’s stem by using recycled her kitchen knife.

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Lately in Ishigaki Island, this kind of plant for indigo dye is more common.  (Namban Komatsunagi)  More precisely, there are two different kinds.



A “Mud indigo” vat which is made with a different method compare to the Sukumo Ai making in Honshu, Japan.


Finishing a woven textile by pounding to make it smoother and softer.  The fabric is rolled on the beam and be pounded.


The way of wearing kimono of Okinawa, “Ryu-Sou”.


Weft bobbins are prepared by winding around a bamboo stick. They will be set in a shuttle and the thread is supplied from the center of the bobbin.

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The loom with Ayatsuburu (additional warp mill) is particular to Yaeyama style of weaving.

There are two different method to dye Kasuri pattern on the threads, one is by “Nassen ( rub-dye method) and the other is by “Kukuri (tie-dye)” method.

Nassen method is used for Yaeyama Jofu in the end of Meiji to Taisho period, in order to increase its production.

An additional warp mill attached on the loom for double ikat pattern making by Nassen method.

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A jar with thickened Ku-ru (Dioscorea?) juice for dye for brown color.


Tools to apply the color onto the thread.