Ryukyu kasuri refers to kasuri produced mainly in the town of Haebaru. Amongst some 600 different types of geometric patterns created using straight lines, Ryukyu kasuri is characterized by the use of patterns that are closely related to daily life, such as symbols of birds and carpenter tools (known as tui-gwa and ban-jō respectively in Okinawa language). Ryukyu kasuri, with its rustic texture and tropical languor, can be regarded as the representative traditional Okinawan textile.The origins of Ryukyu kasuri can be traced back to 1611, when Gima Shinjo, a top Ryukyuan official central to the development of industries in the kingdom, brought back cotton seeds from Satsuma and cultivated them in the region of Kakinohana. Weaving primarily began in cotton kasuri before silk kasuri was introduced around 1935. Silk kasuri now makes up the majority of kasuri production.
Kasuri of Haebaru Town is made from wool, cotton and silk threads. It is characterized by a heft and warmth not found in other kasuri textiles, making it popular for use in winter kimono and outerwear. Kasuri production began in Haebaru during the Taisho era (1912-1926), and is classified into two main types, hana-ori (where patterns are present only on the front of the fabric) and uki-ori (where patterns are embossed on the back of the fabric).
|Silk, cotton, hemp thread/silk, cotton, hemp, wool thread
|Place of manufacture
|Naha City, Yaese Town, Haebaru Town/Haebaru Town
|Kimono and obi
|Partnership name and date of establishment
|Ryukyu Kasuri Business Cooperative Association, February 13th, 1975
|Date designated by national
|Ryukyu Kasuri: April 27th, 1983
Haebaru Hana-ori: January 26th, 2017
|Date designated by prefecture
|Ryukyu Kasuri: June 11th, 1974
Haebaru Hana-ori: June 12th, 1998
|*Source: "An Outline of Promotion Strategies for the Craft Industry"; official website of Ryukyu Kasuri Business Cooperative Association (http://ryukyukasuri.com/?page_id=33)
Almost all Ryukyu kasuri is produced in the towns of Haebaru and Yaese (Kochinda), with the communities of Kyan, Motobu and Teruya of Haebaru being the main areas of kasuri production. Ryukyu kasuri accounts for the largest share in the prefecture’s production of local handwoven textiles, with production carried out in a system where craftspeople are placed in charge of each different stage of production. The Ryukyu Kasuri Business Cooperative Association was established in 1975, followed by the Ryukyu Kasuri Hall in 1979, which offers shared spaces for exhibitions, as well as facilities for fabric dyeing and training new artisans. “Ryukyu Kasuri” was officially registered as an industry trademark in 2008, which has helped diversify kasuri production to include items such as kariyushi (Okinawa’s business casual attire), neckties and other accessories.