News Letter

News Letter

Thursday, July 20, 2006


Dear Customers & Friends
Hello from Japan! This is Kimono Flea Market ICHIROYA' News Letter No.113.These days we must carefully watch the CNN News about Hurricane Rita, and worry about our customers must be effected by her. We cannot help beng astonished by the damages by hurricane, which are far more serious than typhoon. We sincerely hope you and your friends are safe, and can return to ordinary life.
Today I would like to write about the illegal indication case of Yuki Tsumugi. As we wrote several times in our news letters, Yuki Tsumugi is the most expensive and valuable tsumugi silk textile, which needs incredibly elaborate hand works. To weave a Yuki bolt, it is said to takes more than three months. Its touch is very very soft, light and comfortable, and if you touch it you must know the difference between Yuki and other silk fabrics. Here is the English page of Yuki Tsumugi.
On 11th July (this year), Japan Fair Trade Commission(JFTC) warned 10 Yuki Tsumugi dealers in violation of the truth-in-advertising laws. They put 'The certificate stickers of Important Intangible Cultural Heritage' on the fabrics, which were not met the necessary requirement for it. They had sold 6000 bolts a year, four billion yen, but approx half of them were not met the requirement.This illegal advertising started with the beginnng of the stickers, which was made in 1963.
The requirements of Important Intangible Cultural Heritage Yuki Tsumugi are three conditions below,
1)Hand Spun2)'Te-gukuri' - To make the ikat pattern, threads must be dyed with 'kukuri' technique. Weft and warp threads are tied with cotton threads to prevent penetration of dye during the dyeing process. ('Te' means 'hand'). 3)Hand Woven with 'Izaribata'^- Izaribata is the old weaving equipment, and genuine Yuki tsumugi must be woven with it.
There is a page, which has lots of movies of 'Yuki making process'
We were astonished to hear the case, and most major Yuki dealers were involved in it. Their certificated Yuki Tsumugi didn't met the second condition 'tegukuri'. Theirs seemed to be dyed directly on the threads without cotton-tied-dye-resisit process.When I visited Kurume ( contemporary cotton kasuri product center), a dealer said the tegukuri process is most difficult and elaborate, and 'kukuri-artisan' is becoming less and less. The situation of Yuki must be the same as Kurume.In addition 'kukuri' process will not effect the touch of the fabric, and it must be impossible to tell between 'tegukuri' and direct-dyeing after they are completed. ( I mean 'dyeing directly on the threads, and weaving with them, and making kasuri pattern. Not dyeing after weaving.)
One bolt of the Important Intangible Cultural Heritage Yuki Tsumugi are sold approx from 7 million yen to 20 million yen. But without certificate stickers they are sold from 4 million to 10 million yen. Yuki dealers had made huge profit with deceiving consumers.
Also at our used and antique ( and discount fabric) kimono market, telling the 'Certificated Yuki' have been the one of important skill. At our market, ordinarily kimonos don't have stickers, so we must tell only its touch and look. And its price range is dramatically different if it was genuine Yuki Tsumugi. I heard a dealer sold their not-certificated Yuki Tsumugi, which he made soften with some kind of steam. He didn't say 'It is certificated Yuki'. But some dealers judged it certificated one with its soft touch, and won at the high price of certificated Yuki.
You can see the stickers of Yuki Tsumugi at this page.
Last four photos are the very similar stickers to genuine one, but they are seemed to imitated.
This case made us sad. Already the Kurume Kasuri become to need government assistance to keep its tradition. But we think Yuki Tsumugi has solid market in high-end kimono market, and dealers and makers don't need help or cjeat to maintain its traditional techniques.It was a very sad news, but we want our customers to know today's problems of kimono market and take as a topic of our news letter.
Today we have listed some kimono, furisode and bolt. We are very happy if you could check them.
Have a nice day!Ichiro & Yuka WadaKimono Flea Market "ICHIROYA"
e-mail: info@ichiroya.comaddress: Asia-shoji Bldg.301 1841-1 Nishi 1 chome Wakamatsu cho Tondabayashi city Osaka 584-0025 JAPANTEL&FAX ****( international number ) - 81-721-23-5446


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