Japan Travel News

A Necessary Revival By Prairie Stuart-Wolff

Posted on August 14, 2014 within News

Lone Wolf Saratetsu finds its place in the present

Hagiwara Ichizo is enthusiastic. With kind eyes and a jolly demeanor, he wants to show you everything.As the annals of history threaten to bind his work and the work of two fathers before him between their covers, he’d like to educate and encourage us to understand and embrace the beauty of hand dyeing in the Yuzen tradition.

Hagiwara is the current proprietor of Saratetsu, of Nerima, Tokyo. Founded by his grandfather in 1910, Saratetsu specializes in bespoke furoshiki, a traditional cloth used to bundle and carry items. Intent on making this common and generally inexpensive product of the people, Hagiwara continues the company’s dedication to hand dyeing. But in an era that prizes speed and economy, the techniques he employs have been all but abandoned outside the realm of high-end kimono production. Yet still, every piece of furoshiki fabric at Saratetsu is worked by hand in an intricate and laborious process.

By Prairie Stuart-Wolff

This is the seventh in a continuing series of featured articles authored by Prairie Stuart-Wolff from her online publication Cultivated Days.