What kind of kimono is Tsumugi? Features and types explained in an easy-to-understand manner

What kind of kimono is Tsumugi? Features and types explained in an easy-to-understand manner

"Tsumugi", a traditional Japanese silk fabric, has a rich history and unique characteristics, making it one of the oldest and most prominent of Japan's diverse textiles. In this article, we will delve into the history of Tsumugi, its uses and characteristics in modern times.

Characteristics of Tsumugi

The greatest characteristic of Tsumugi is its texture, with a very elegant luster unique to silk.
Its resistance to color fading and soreness, and its firmness and comfort is one of its characteristics, and its texture and design vary depending on the region of production.

The silk threads are woven from silkworm cocoons, and Tsumugi weaving is a time-consuming and labor-intensive process that requires a great deal of skill.
Craftsmen painstakingly weave and dye the silk threads to create a fabric that is unique both visually and to the touch.
Each piece of Tsumugi is a work of art, and the differences in fabrics from region to region are considered one of its charms.

Type of Tsumugi

Type of Tsumugi

The diverse geographical conditions and regional differences in Japan give rise to various types of Tsumugi, each with different textures and designs.
What kinds of Tsumugi are there? Here are some typical types of Tsumugi.

Oshima Tsumugi

Originating from Amami-Oshima Island, Oshima Tsumugi is characterized by its lightweight, heat-retaining fabric and unique patterns.
The unique black and austere coloring is the result of the "mud-dyeing" process, which is one of the highest among all the silk fabrics that Japan is proud of.

Among Oshima Tsumugi, there are various types such as "white Oshima", "colored Oshima", and "grass-dyed", which are not dyed with mud.

What is Oshima Tsumugi? The charm and history of Oshima Tsumugi

Kumejima Tsumugi


Kumejima Tsumugi, which originated in Kumejima Island, is designated as an important cultural asset of Japan and is famous as the starting point of the Tsumugi production method.
Kumejima Tsumugi, which is dyed with grass, trees, and mud, becomes more beautiful and shiny as the lye from the dye is removed with each washing.


The process of "Kasuri Kukuri", which is generally done by machine, is also done by hand, and it can be said that Kumeshima Tsumugi is made by craftsmen with a lot of time and care.

Yuki Tsumugi

Yuki Tsumugi is woven in Yuki City, Ibaraki Prefecture, and is famous as an expensive textile with a long history dating back to the Nara period (710-794).
Originally produced as a sideline to the sericulture industry, it is woven from hand-spun cotton threads.

Cotton is a top-quality silk fabric that is soft, fluffy, and comfortable to the touch because it contains a lot of air and has excellent heat-retaining properties.

Each Tsumugi reflects the local culture, climate, and available resources, creating a unique character and style.

These regional characteristics have contributed to the rich cultural diversity of Tsumugi.

Origin and History

old loom

Tsumugi is deeply rooted in the history of Japanese textiles, dating back centuries.
And its historical roots are closely tied to the evolution of silk textiles in Japan.

Silk fabrics have been an integral part of Japan's culture and economy since ancient times.
Silk weaving techniques were introduced from China, and as silk weaving technology advanced, unique styles were established in various regions of Japan, giving rise to a variety of textiles, including silk Tsumugi.

Nara and Heian periods (8th to 12th centuries)

Silk fabrics became increasingly important, especially for making court costumes.
And the technique of twisting and weaving silk threads to produce a unique texture became more sophisticated.
In this period, textiles later called "Tsumugi" appeared.
Originally, Tsumugi was hand-woven from threads spun from waste cocoons that could not be turned into raw silk and was mainly worn as work clothes.

Edo period (1603-1867)

when the prohibition of luxury was issued, the upper classes began to pay attention to this fabric because it "looked like cotton even though it was silk.

After the Meiji period (1868-)

the production of Tsumugi increased and it became popular, but after the war, it declined.
Therefore, activities to maintain the Japanese Tsumugi culture and traditions have continued in various regions.

Modern Applications

kimono remake bag

While Tsumugi has traditional roots, it has evolved to meet modern needs and tastes.
In modern Japan, Tsumugi is not limited to traditional garments, but is used in many aspects of modern life.

Used in contemporary, modern fashion, Tsumugi is highly valued by designers and loyal wearers for its unique texture and cultural significance.
It is used in garments such as blouses, jackets, dresses, and accessories, as well as in versatile applications such as curtains, upholstery, and decorative textiles.

The appreciation of Tsumugi has spread beyond national borders to the world, with foreign designers and collectors highly appreciating its artistry, craftsmanship, and timeless beauty.
The appeal of Tsumugi lies not only in its beauty, but also in the narrative of Japanese tradition and culture.

Cultural Role

Japanese cultural

Tsumugi has a very important cultural significance for Japan.
The fabric has long been used for traditional Japanese clothing, especially kimonos.
Kimonos made of Tsumugi are prized for their aesthetic value and their connection to Japan's cultural heritage.

The Tsumugi weaving technique and the textiles produced from it are deeply connected to Japan's cultural identity.
The tradition of making Tsumugi has been handed down for generations, and it is extremely important to preserve this traditional Japanese craft in the future.
Tsumugi is a testament to Japan's commitment to maintaining its cultural traditions and craftsmanship.

Even today, Tsumugi continues to inspire designers, artists, and craftsmen.
Its unique texture, dyeing techniques, and intricate patterns are incorporated into modern fashion, art, and design, and are passed on to the next generation as something contemporary.

Cultural Preservation and Revival

modern handloom weaving

As mentioned in the previous section, Tsumugi is a testament to the Japanese people's efforts to preserve their culture and traditions.
In the midst of globalization and rapidly changing fashion trends, Tsumugi has not only survived, but has also been revived in a new form.

Revival of traditional techniques

Artisans and organizations dedicated to the preservation of Tsumugi have played an important role in the revival of traditional techniques.
This includes teaching the technique to the younger generation, promoting cultural exchange, and introducing the artistry at home and abroad.

International Recognition

Tsumugi is internationally recognized and exported to many different countries.
Its appeal lies not only in its cultural significance, but also in its design and feel.
It has established its position in the global market as a unique and artistic Japanese culture.

Collaboration with contemporary fashion

Renowned designers have remade ancient Japanese textiles, including Tsumugi, and presented them in contemporary collections.
The fusion of traditional craftsmanship and modern design has opened up new avenues for Tsumugi.


Japanese Tsumugi is a textile treasure with deep cultural roots and unique characteristics.
Its origins, weaving techniques, and regional variations demonstrate the rich diversity of Japan's cultural heritage.
In today's society, Tsumugi will continue to carry on its traditions and culture in the fashion industry and in the arts, both by inheriting traditions and incorporating modern designs.
Because of its beauty and cultural significance, Tsumugi is a timeless part of Japanese culture and is highly appreciated both in Japan and abroad.

Tsumugi is a living testament to the importance of preserving cultural heritage and celebrating the artistry and craftsmanship that has characterized its progress over the centuries.

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