Introduction of Japanese fabric production areas. (Matsusaka-Cotton)
The second article in this series introduces Matsusaka cotton.
About Matsusaka Cotton
Matsusaka is a city located in the central Mie Prefecture. Just a few hours south of Nagoya and Kyoto, the city is probably best known for their production of Matsuzaka Beef, one of the most premium Wagyu Brands. Matsusaka was also known for its cotton weaving and indigo dyeing industry.
It is said that Matsusaka Cotton started as votive offerings to nearby Ise Jingu, one of the oldest and most important shrines in Japan.
During the Edo period, there was a strict restriction of luxurious fashion items such as silk, and during this time Matsusaka Cotton was a popular fabric among the people of Edo. Matsusaka merchants quickly set up stores in Edo and started selling Matsusaka Cotton to Edo’s fashionable citizens. More than 500,000 tan (approximately 3 million meters) of cotton were sold every year when the population of Edo at that time was only about 1 million.
In recent days, the Matsusaka Cotton industry has declined just like other traditional crafts in Japan. Today, only one company, Miito Textiles, remains to produce the once popular Matsusaka Cotton. Their Matsusaka Cotton is still made with yarn dyed with natural indigo. The color of indigo deepens as used and washed, growing into the indigo blue color beloved by the Japanese people.
Matsusaka Cotton has a very tight mesh that creates a durable fabric suited for everyday use. In order to bring out its best qualities and its beauty, we wash the fabric once before putting them for sale.
All the Matsusaka Cotton fabrics are 40 cm in width, the same width of traditional Japanese narrow-loomed cloth called tanmono used for making Kimonos. This is because weavers are still using the wooden looms used in the Edo Period.
We believe that the main attraction of Matsusaka Cotton is its incorporation of vintage-like fabrics in more modern applications.
Established in 1872.
Nishiguchi Tsuneyuki started Miito Textiles as an indigo dyeing company. He acquired a weaving machine and started to produce Matsusaka Cotton. Today, the fifth generation weaver, Yuya Nishiguchi is the only weaver of Matsusaka Cotton.
Their Matsusaka-Jima, the high quality indigo dyed fabric that has stylish vertical stripes, was sensationally popular among Edo citizens. Today, in addition to the old favorite, the company also produces a variety of plaids and plain fabrics. The company maintains the highest quality of their product by completing the entire manufacturing processes in-house, from dyeing of the yarns to weaving the fabric.
Matsusaka Cotton has an exceptionally gentle feel, almost like the one of a well worn vintage cloth. This high quality cotton fabric can be comfortably worn throughout the year, and can be used in a variety of ways, like in western-style clothing, kimonos, and other accessories.