ABOUT Wakayanagi woven fabric
A woven cotton fabric with local warmth that feels good to the touch
When Koji Chiba first opened Chibakou textile factory in the Wakayanagi district of Kurihara City, the production of silk or sericulture flourished. The textile industry was very popular in Kurihara City and there were a lot of weavers in the Miyagi prefecture. The cotton was woven by a Toyota iron narrow width power weaving machine (type Y) which has been used since the establishment of the business nearly 100 years ago. Chibakou’s cotton products were highly regarded by farmers as farm clothes because of its breathability, easiness to dry and heat-retentive properties. The clothes would also get more comfortable the more they were washed.
A severe blow was dealt to the weaving factories with the development of synthetic fibers as textiles became cheaply made and readily available for the masses. The mechanization of agriculture led to the decline in the demand for farm clothes, and the oil crisis in 1975 drove production costs throughout the roof. Thirteen factories closed one by one and only Koji’s Chibakou textile factory survived .
Chibakou transformed the business from manufacturing farm-clothes to creating practical, everyday items. Takayori, the third generation craftsman, started to produce eyeglass cases, card holders, pouches and neckties, as “practical folk crafts.” He expanded Chibakou’s market from local to national, now serving all of Japan. Chibakou has been recognized as a designated “Miyagi Traditional Industrial Art.” It received this designation in 1985 and to this day, Chibakou continues to convey the warmth of their cotton textile, which has been loved in its native district for decades.
Chibakou textile factory