Dorozome - DAMDAM


Dorozome is a traditional mud-dyeing technique originating from the island of Amami, Japan. It can achieve different tones of blacks, browns, and greys and is frequently used to create the highly prized oshima tsumugi, the jet-black kimono silk threads.

泥染めは、奄美の島に由来する伝統的な染色技法です。 黒、茶、灰色の異なる色調を作り出すことができ、漆黒に染められた絹糸は、とても価値のある大島紬をつくるために使われています。

The mud is taken from Amami’s iron-rich rice fields, continually replenished by the abundant mountain streams flowing through the area to the sea. This ancient dyeing technique is completely sustainable and requires highly skilled artisans to produce the craft. 


A preliminary dye is made by boiling the wood trees indigenous to the Amami region. Branches are chopped and simmered for two days, at which point the pulp is removed. The silk yarns are soaked in this initial dye bath, then in the iron-rich mud, initiating a chemical reaction that extracts the colors from the mud and locks them into the fabric.

下染めは、奄美地方原産の樹木を煮出した染色液で行われます。 枝をチップ状に細かくし2日間煮出したら、チップを取り除きます。 絹糸はまず、この染色液に浸され、次に鉄分が豊富な泥に浸され、化学反応によって絹糸に色が定着します。

"I did not know mud dyeing when I was young. It was very interesting to be able to make colors using only what is available in Amami Oshima. I don't buy colors, I go to the mountains to get it. Using the color of the plants to react with the mud was like a magical experience for me. I want to share it with everyone so I'm still going on," says dorozome master Yukihito Kanai.


"I believe that sustainable methods exist in classical techniques. I think that important things will remain, even if it is a laborious way."


“The history of dyeing is deep in Amami Oshima, and there are two reasons for handling it myself. One, to tell the next generation that there is such a cultural history. Second, I want to do what I can with dorozome in the present age. The history of chemical dyeing is 100 - 200 years old, but natural dyeing has been around longer. I think we will shift to natural things in terms of resources in the future, and we need to use it sustainably in order to convey it for a long time.” 

「奄美大島は染色の歴史が深く、私が泥染めを行う理由は2つあります。 1つ目は、このような文化の歴史があることを次世代に伝えるため。 2つ目は、現代で泥染めでできることをしたいからです。 化学染色の歴史は100〜200年前のもので、天然染色の方が歴史は長いです。 将来的には資源的にも自然のものにシフトしていくと思いますし、それを長く伝えるためには継続的に行う必要があると思います。」

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