Understanding Persimmon Tannin Dyeing

Understanding Persimmon Tannin Dyeing

Have You Heard of Persimmon Tannin Dyeing?

With the recent remarkable advancements in science and technology, there has been an increase in highly functional clothing. But how was it before the spread of modern science and technology?

In this article, we will focus on traditional dyeing techniques that have been passed down through generations. Specifically, we will explain the history and characteristics of Kakishibu dyeing, which is used in the fabrics we carry at our store.

Note: Kakishibu dyeing is the same as Persimmon Tannin Dyeing.

What is Persimmon Tannin Dyeing?

Kakishibu dyeing, as the name suggests, is a dyeing technique that uses persimmon tannin. Persimmon tannin is made by fermenting the juice of unripe persimmons. In Japan, it has been recorded that around the 10th century, persimmon tannin was used as an undercoat for lacquerware. As clothing, it was used for garments worn by lower-ranking samurai and yamabushi (mountain ascetic monks) during the Heian period. These garments were called "kakiso". Kakishibu dyeing is a traditional dyeing technique that has been passed down for over a thousand years. That's amazing.


Characteristics of Persimmon Tannin

Persimmon tannin has been known to have preservative, waterproof, and insect-repellent properties. It has recently been discovered to have antibacterial, deodorizing, and virus-resistant effects. Historically, Japan has traditionally had many items made from natural materials such as paper, wood, and cloth for daily necessities. Persimmon tannin has played a significant role in preventing deterioration and decay in many of these items. Persimmon tannin's use as a preservative in the construction materials of traditional temples and shrines such as Horyuji and Yakushiji demonstrates its potent effectiveness.

The greatest characteristic of persimmon tannin dyeing for clothing is that "the color deepens day by day”. As the tannins, the main pigment components of persimmon tannin, come into contact with sunlight and air, they undergo oxidative polymerization over time, intensifying the color. This phenomenon is also known as "sun dyeing”. Unlike chemical dyes, which fade with exposure to sunlight, persimmon tannin dye becomes richer and more profound with use. Some people even say that "persimmon tannin dye is alive”, as it brings the pleasure of nurturing as well as wearing it, which is its greatest allure.


Components and Effects of Persimmon Tannin

The main components of persimmon tannin are high molecular weight polyphenols, known as kaki tannin, and complex polysaccharides known as pectin. Let's explain the effects of these components. First, kaki tannin is a water-soluble bitter compound found in unripe persimmons, which primarily exhibit preservative, insect-repellent, antibacterial, and antiviral effects. Tannins have the property of forming a coating-like layer and solidifying when applied repeatedly. Next, pectin demonstrates strong adhesive properties, making the coated materials durable. Due to these properties, persimmon tannin has been widely used in products requiring waterproof effects, such as traditional Japanese umbrellas and fishing nets.


Uses of Persimmon Tannin

As a result of the numerous useful effects confirmed, persimmon tannin has been utilized in various indispensable items for daily life, such as fabrics, lacquerware, paper, ropes, furniture, and building materials. In everyday life, it is used in a variety of items, such as shirts, jeans, and bags, across different generations. Additionally, due to its high nutritional value, it is also used in tea, cosmetics, and pharmaceuticals. Currently, persimmon tannin is recognized for its body-friendly properties and is used as a multifunctional coating in building interiors that do not cause harmful effects from chemicals. Consequently, it is being revisited from the perspective of the SDGs as a natural material that is gentle on the skin and environmentally friendly.The more I researched, the more I realized how many items around me use persimmon tannin. I was surprised to discover that it was something familiar to the Japanese, even though I was unaware of it.

Conclusion: Rediscovered the Wonders of Persimmon Tannin

 I was deeply impressed by researching the history and manufacturing processes of persimmon dyeing, realizing how remarkable it is that people in the past established techniques that could be passed down as traditions for future generations. Of course, I have great respect for those who continue to inherit and develop these methods today. I believe it would be wonderful if we could support these traditional skills, which are sustained by the efforts of many, by actively "utilizing" them ourselves.

I am truly amazed by the incredible properties of persimmon tannin and its enduring legacy in traditional techniques.



・Web柿渋村 柿渋情報総合サイト, https://kakishibu.co/, 2024.06 Viewed.

・KOEKI CO.,LTD, https://www.koeki-net.com/blog/p1370/ , 2024.06 Viewed.

・鍛治雅信, “かわのはなし(7)”, 東京都立皮革技術センター,https://www.hikaku.metro.tokyo.lg.jp//Portals/0/images/shisho/shien/public/186_7.pdf, 2024.06 Viewed.

・みつる工芸,https://kakishibuzome.com/kakishibuzome/,2024.06 Viewed.

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