Textiles of Kyushu
small group journey
Kurume Kasuri & Fiber Art
Welcome to Kyushu, a land with a unique cultural landscape and history. Much of its unique native arts show the deep influence of the area’s early international trade.
On this 8-day tour, we will first visit Yame, a small town that is little-known to tourists, but a destination for Kurume Kasuri, a Cultural Heritage. Kurume Kasuri is one of the three largest types of kasuri that exist in Japan (the others are Iyo Kasuri from Ehime and Bingo Kasuri from Hiroshima). The fabric making process for kasuri is similar to that of Indonesian “ikat” in that the cotton threads are first tied then dyed according to the design pattern before weaving. These pre-dyed threads are used for both warp and weft (“double ikat”) to create the geometric patterns, often called “splash designs”, known as Kurume Kasuri today. While there, we will also learn about the local Monpe Project, a new approach to the design and wearing of traditional women’s work pants made from kasuri fabric.
This region is also famous for many other fiber arts and crafts, and tea farming. During our journey, we will be visiting artisan papermakers, an aizome (indigo) dye studio and weavers, MoonStar shoe manufacturers, as well as a sake brewery and a tea farm (yame-cha).
The last two days of our journey will be spent in Nagasaki, a seaside city with a unique history influenced by its earlier international trade. Unfortunately, Nagasaki is also sadly better known for its recent tragic past as one of the two cities where an atomic bomb was dropped, than for its dynamic present. We are going to explore this cheerful cosmopolitan city that has trams gliding through its downtown, and relax along its attractive harbor. Other gems of Nagasaki arose from its long history of engagement with Christianity. On the hillsides overlooking the bay are beautiful gardens and examples of western architecture, reminders of Nagasaki’s once-thriving foreign trade. The world-acclaimed Puccini opera Madam Butterfly and the novel on which it is based are set in Nagasaki as well. Enjoy two relaxing days in this historical city of Kyushu!
- Welcome dinner
- Visit the Yame Traditional Crafts Center and the Yame Folk Center
- Visit Unagi No Nedoko to learn about the Monpe Project
- Participate in an all-day aizome Indigo dye workshop
- Tour the Kitaya Sake Brewery
- Tour the Shimogawa weaving studio to learn about the design and technique of Kurume Kasuri
- Visit an artisan washi maker
- Visit a Yame tea farm (yame-cha)
- Tour the MoonStar Shoe Factory to learn how local fabric and rubber are being made into world-class shoes
- Sightseeing in Nagasaki City
- Tour of gardens and historical buildings
- Farewell dinner
Next spring, escape the crowds and travel the off beat path of Kyushu to discover the richness of textile and fiber arts.
After visiting the Yame Traditional Crafts Center, we will set our foot in Unagi No Nedoko. Unagi No Nedoko is a local shop that introduces native crafts of the region with the mission of creating a sustainable future for the makers and the local culture. We are going to learn about the Monpe Project, a collaboration between Unagi No Nedoko and local weavers and dyers. Monpe is a traditional women’s work pants that originated during the war and quickly became popular, especially among farmers. To save fabric, women were asked to unsew their kimono and to make them into work pants. Prior to WW 2, it was not accustomed for Japanese women to wear pants.
Evening transfer to Nagasaki city.
In the afternoon, we will visit Dejima, an artificial island off the harbor which was used as a Dutch-trading post in the 17th century. Here we can learn about the earlier history of trade and the lives of international businessmen and people surrounding them. As mentioned in the intro, many books and stories about international romantic novels were written based on people in Dejima and its surroundings.
To Be Announced.
$4200 per person, double occupancy
$4600 per person, single occupancy
($100.00 discount for check payment)
Deposit of $750.00 due at the time of registration (non-refundable)
Workshops and Demonstrations in Itinerary
Guide & Interpreter from TanpopoStudio
Transportation to/from Fukuoka International Airport to hotel
what’s not included:
travel or medical insurance
flight to/from Japan
personal spending including:
shopping, alcohol, laundry, some meals
koshiki yonemura, 651-734-3923, firstname.lastname@example.org