The transcript below is from the video “The Kimono World’s Dirty Little Secret” by Great Big Story.

Great Big Story (YouTube Channel, global media company devoted to cinematic storytelling):

On a small island, off the coast of Okinawa in Japan, the world’s most precious kimonos are crafted using a very unusual element: mud. The meticulous technique, which has been practiced for thousands of years, uses mud and dried tree trunks to soak and dye the garments. The result is kimonos that are so high quality, they can last up to three generations.

Great Big Story (YouTube Channel, global media company devoted to cinematic storytelling):

 This is the beginning of a kimono; one of the world’s most precious kimonos, a thousand-year old fashion statement that all starts here in the mud on a unique tropical island.  This is the kimono world’s dirty little secret.

This story starts in Ginza, a neighborhood in Tokyo known for fashion, and home to a famous kimono shop.

Motoji Komei (Owner of Ginza Motoji Kimono shop in Ginza, Tokyo):

I am Motoji Komei.  I am the owner of Ginza Motoji kimono shop in Ginza, Tokyo.  Oshima Tsumugi, made in Amami Oshima, is the most high-end kimono.  At a glance, it looks plain, but when you take a closer look, details are woven in.  It’s the aesthetic of Japan.

Great Big Story (YouTube Channel, global media company devoted to cinematic storytelling):

In the 1700s, Japan invaded Amami Oshima, and everyone was forced to surrender all their silk kimonos to Japan’s ruling class.  So, legend has it that the people of Amami Oshima hid their kimonos in the mud and discovered that they were dyed a beautiful black color.

Kanai Yukihito (someone who dyes the Oshima Tsumugi kimonos):

I am Kanai Yukihito.  I dye Oshima Tsumugi kimonos with mud.  There is a record that the dyeing of Oshima Tsumugi kimonos is at least 1,300 years old.  We collect tree trunks in the Amami Mountains and boil them down to a concentrated dye.  A chemical reaction occurs when the tree trunks meet the iron in the mud.  The, red turns black.  We repeat the dyeing process.  After 20-30 times of dyeing the cloth with the tree trunks, we keep it in the field to dry.  The deep dark black is from those layers.

Great Big Story (YouTube Channel, global media company devoted to cinematic storytelling):

Some say the heritage behind these kimonos is just as sacred as the kimono itself.

Kanai Yukihito (someone who dyes the Oshima Tsumugi kimonos):

Oshima Tsumugi kimonos are such high quality, they can last for two to three generations.

Motoji Komei (Owner of Ginza Motoji Kimono shop in Ginza, Tokyo):

Cloth in mud is washed and sewn to turn into a beautiful kimono on display.  Wearing a kimono is an effective means of self-expression.  To wear Oshima Tsumugi, the best kimono in Japan, it is pride.




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