Yaeyama jōfu, a traditional fabric made with thread derived from the ramie plant, is the textile in Okinawa where dyed patterns are introduced onto woven fabric using the rubbing and printing (“surikomi” technique. Popular in use as summer kimono, the allure of Yaeyama jōfu lies in the contrast of its reddish brown patterns against a lightly-colored background. While the origins of the fabric remains unknown, it has been said to have been already in existence before the Ryukyu Kingdom was invaded by Satsuma. After the establishment of a system of tribute payments by the royal government, Yaeyama jōfu was woven under the supervision of the royal government, resulting in the production of elaborately patterned fabrics. The textile weaving industry developed to become one of the major industries in Yaeyama, even after the abolition of capitation taxes.
Yaeyama minsā is a type of kasuri made by weaving cotton warp threads dyed with indigo or fukugi. Min means “cotton”, and sā means “belt”, a literal reference to minsā’s proportions as a narrow belt with a width of one and a half to three inches. In recent years however, minsā has expanded to include belts of larger widths. The exact origins of minsā are unclear, although it is believed to have already been in existence in the Yaeyama region in the early 18th century, as the use of cotton is mentioned in records denoting a system of dress codes to differentiate members of the aristocracy and official court ranks.
|Material||Ramie thread, cotton thread|
|Place of manufacture||Taketomi Town|
|Main Products||Kimono, obi, neckties, etc.|
|Partnership name and date of establishment||Business Cooperative Association for Woven Textiles of Taketomi Town, January 18th, 1989|
|Date designated by national||April 11th, 1989|
|Date designated by prefecture||June 11th, 1974|
|Source||*Source: "An Outline of Promotion Strategies for the Craft Industry"; official website of Taketomi Town (https://www.town.taketomi.lg.jp/about/) and Taketomi Town Tourist Association (https://painusima.com)|
Taketomi Town is a municipal of Okinawa prefecture consisting of nine inhabited and seven uninhabited islands in the Yaeyama chain of islands.
Many settlements in Taketomi are home to an abundance of nature and deep cultural richness, such as Taketomi Island with its traditional Okinawan townscape of red-tiled houses and white sand-paved roads, Iriomote Island with its verdant nature, and Hateruma Island, Japan’s southernmost inhabited island.
In Taketomi Town, many cultural assets designated by the national, prefectural and municipal governments have been preserved and passed down through generations. The town is also the center of production for the nationally designated traditional crafts of Yaeyama minsā and Yaeyama jōfu.