During the Edo era, the cold weather of southern Aomori made it hard to grow cotton. This made cotton cloth an extremely precious commodity and led the people in the Hachinohe area to develop a unique style of weaving called Nanbu sakiori. This style of weaving served to conserve cotton while allowing the people of the area to make new pieces of clothing. During the Nanbu sakiori process, weavers would take old and worn clothes and reuse them by tearing up the pieces and then reweaving it with new cotton. Thus a new fabric was made.
Today this process is still practiced in much the same way as it was in the past. Old clothes are torn up into tape like pieces and used as the weft, while new cotton is used as thread for the warp. These two materials are then woven together on a hand-operated machine called a jiki. Even when using the same materials the overlay of the thread is different, so no two products come out the same. This gives the new material a unique and interesting design.
Nanbu sakiori produces a cloth that is strong and warm. It was traditionally used for essential items like rugs, work clothes, belts, and kotatsu covers. But today these handmade textiles and beautiful patterns are used to make things like decorative table clothes and small gifts.
There are a variety of places where you can purchase Nanbu sakiori products in the Hachinohe area, and even a few places where you can experience weaving a piece yourself. For more information on where to purchase or make your own Nanbu sakiori, please contact Visit Hachinohe directly.