Keiko Futatsuya, my mother / a Sashiko artist in Japan, visited an unbelievable place regarding a hidden Sashiko culture – Tokiyama Sashiko (時山さしこ）. In a small village called Tokiyama, where there are no grocery stores around, the people discovered their own Sashiko culture in 1990’s from ground. They tried to pass this culture down to the next generation by exhibiting Sashiko/Boro pieces and sharing Sashiko workshops.
Since the people in Tokiyama knew Keiko from her previous work, the designer in Hida Sashiko. they warmly welcomed her and share their story with her and her friends.
Yes. I mention it right. Discovered Boro from Ground
We, who live in the 21st century, value BOROs as a beautiful art piece. Patches and repeated stitching make unique visual art like abstract drawing. In the past, a few hundred years ago, the Japanese had a different feeling comparing to the value we had. The feeling was opposite to beautiful value, the shame. Regardless of its beauty, the BOROs were the symbol of Shame.
In Tokiyama village, Sashiko repaired Jacket represented poverty. People considered the more a family possesses Boros, the poor they were. They felt ashamed of wearing Boros and repairing Sashiko jacket, which they didn’t have any choice not to do. When they had a pile of Boros and mended clothes which they couldn’t repair much any longer, they bury Boros in the ground to hide the shame they held.
In 1990’s, people learned that there was a Sashiko culture in Tokiyama hundreds of years ago, dug these BOROs and Sashiko jacket from the ground. Indeed. They have BOROs from Ground. Some of them transformed its touch, the cotton became like a felt after getting the pressures under the ground.
Unbelievable Testimony of Sashiko by Tokiyama Sashiko
Sashiko formed its culture in many places in Japan, where are rural places with a lot of snow and severe winter. In these places, they developed their own Sashiko culture where Sashiko was a work for women to repair men’s jacket. Regardless of the numbers of culture’s footprints, it has been very challenging to make a research about Sashiko.
Tokiyama Sashiko gave us a hint of understanding the difficulty of discovering the history of Sashiko. People felt ashamed of having the Boro and Sashiko Jackets. This great opportunity with Tokiyama Sashiko opened up the possibility to learn more about Sashiko.
We will visit them again, ask questions, and try to pass “Sashiko” down to the next generation together, without burying them in the ground.
Wait for the update!