Where Beauty Dawns

Kijoka Bashōfu

Brief Summary and History

Bashōfu is a woven textile made from fibers of raw plantain bark (musa balbisiana), a species of wild banana. Highly favored as the ideal fabric for tropical climates because its light and airy texture prevents it from adhering to the skin during hot summer months, the cloth required for one bashōfu kimono requires approximately six months and 200 strands of plantain fiber to be completed. Throughout its history, bashōfu was essential to the lives of people during the era of the Ryukyu Kingdom and was also used to make garments and items of clothing for members of royalty and warriors.

Although the exact origin of bashōfu remains unknown, ancient records indicate that the fabric came into existence from the 12th to 13th centuries. Bashōfu thread making processes assumed its current present-day form as early as the 16th century. In 1648, the Ryukyu Kingdom designated the appointment of a “Bashō Chief” to promote and oversee production of the fabric. Many records also point to how bashōfu was used as gifts to China and Korea, and also as tributes to the Shimazu clan during the 16th and 17th centuries. Kijoka bashōfu was officially designated by the Japanese government as an nationally important intangible cultural asset on April 20th, 1974. It was designated as a prefectural traditional craft on June 11th, 1974, and also as a nationally designated traditional craft on June 9th, 1988.

Basic data

MaterialBashōfu Thread
Place of manufactureOgimi Village
Main ProductsKimono and obi
Partnership name and date of establishmentKijoka Bashōfu Business Cooperative Association, established March 21, 1984
Date designated by nationalJune 9th, 1988
Date designated by prefectureJune 11th, 1974
SourceSource: "An Outline of Promotion Strategies for the Craft Industry"; official blog of Kijoka Bashōfu Business Cooperative Association (https://bashofu.ti-da.net/e12020692.html)