Durable yet Supple, KOKURA-ORI Earned Distinction Nationwide.
— HISTORY OF KOKURA-ORI
After the 16th century, cultivating cotton grew all around Japan, and cotton cloth spread widely. In the Edo era, women of the samurai families began weaving using cotton yarn, and the weaving culture became attached in Buzen Kokura, currently Kitakyushu City, Fukuoka.
Durable and thick Kokura-ori, warp density is more than double weft, known for unique stripes. Buzen Kokura became well known for Kokura-ori. Kokura-ori was highly valued for Hakama (traditional Japanese pant-like garment) and Obi (traditional Japanese sash) among samurai and said that impervious to spears. Then its use increased among ordinary people as well.
By the time of the Meiji era, a new textile, “Salt and Pepper,” made of gray mottled yarn plied with black and white threads, was produced. The fabric was mainly used for summer uniforms of boy students and spread all over Japan. Salt and Pepper has even been mentioned in Soseki Natsume and Katai Tayama, etc. Early days of the Showa era, the Kokura-ori industry faded once, but it came back to life after a long time.
THE STORY OF KOKURA-ORI TEXTILE
A Destined Encounter of A Textile Artist Noriko Tsuiki and KOKURA-ORI Brought Back Its Life Over The Decades.
— REBIRTH OF KOKURA-ORI
Noriko Tsuiki, a textile artist from Kitakyushu city, brought Kokura-ori back to life. She chose her profession after getting interested in Noh costume. In 1983, she came across a tiny piece of scraps of fabric.
She became engrossed in its beauty, a child's hakama on the last day of the Edo period. The scrap had an elaborate design: deep navy and white, thin indigo in the middle, and the gradation of blue beside the indigo. The color combination never gets old yet chic and graceful. The thick yet sleek cotton scrap with gloss-like silk was the Kokura-ori forgotten even by the locals.
After the encounter, Noriko Tsuki started researching Kokura-ori and found that warps have more density than wefts. She tried weaving with the same ratio of warps to wefts used with the scrap, but the finish gave a rough and rustic impression.
Her visionary finish was the textile with maturity and texture that benefited its design. After many trials and errors, such as changing yarn weight, density, and how to twist, in 1984, she finally revived Kokura-ori by making yarn thinner and using warps about three times more than wefts. It was an evolved Kokura-ori from the tradition. Once forgotten, traditional culture in Kitakyushu started taking a new path once again.
Our Mission is to Carry on Evolving KOKURA-ORI, Representing Japanese Tradition.
Reviving a once faded tradition is not easy. In 1996, KOKURA CREATION INC. the predecessor of KOKURA SHIMA SHIMA INC. was launched with the passion of people fascinated by Kokura-ori and the mission that doesn't stop the time of Kokura-ori never again. Original brand KOKURA SHIMA SHIMA, the new age of Kokura-ori, began in 2007, and Kokura Stripes Japan Association was launched in 2015.
KOKURA SHIMA SHIMA passionately challenged creating new textile and released a series of "SHIMA SHIMA BASIC," "SHIMA SHIMA CLASSIC," "SHIMA SHIMA EVOL," "SHIMA SHIMA LIV," "SHIMA SHIMA CASA," "SHIMA SHIMA EARTH" and "Pepper and Salt." Developing perspective vertical stripes known as KOKURA STRIPES overseas and sustainable textile made of cotton and recycled polyester yarns, KOKURA SHIMA SHIMA is constantly evolving to meet the trend and people's lifestyle.
Kokura-ori is an ever-evolving textile. It kept changing from Edo to Showa, then to now. The mission of KOKURA SHIMA SHIMA INC. is not just to protect the tradition. Based on the essence "evolving" of Kokura-ori, which has more than 400years of history, make it sublimate to modern, high-quality design and grow for the future. We will pursue the ideal way of Kokura-ori and spread the Kokura-ori as one of the fascinating Japanese cultures worldwide.
＊Our textiles are manufactured by Kokura Textile Inc, the same group company.