interview 13

“At least in our house, we will continue Katazome dyeing”
Mr. Takehiro Yokota, Marusenko (est. 1965 / Ukyo-ku, Kyoto)
Marusenko is a studio that has been producing “Katazome” (stencil dyeing), which is one of the techniques of Kyoto Yuzen, using the same production method since its establishment. Currently, there are only a few katazome workshops left in Kyoto that dye kimono for women and men. The “Maru” (meaning circle) in the company name was given by the predecessors as they wanted everyone to work in a circle. We interviewed Mr. Yokota about Kata yuzen and its appeal.
About Kata Yuzen
Kata Yuzen, in which colors are layered on top of each mold
Among Kyo yuzen, Kata yuzen uses molds to enable mass production of the same dyed patterns. Each color has its own mold, and the pattern is created by layering the colors. We use a maximum 30 colors for one kimono. Kata yuzen was first produced around 130~140 years ago, but the production process has hardly change. Every dyehouse makes its own colors, and next to the board room, there is a place where colors are mixed, called a paint place. Although the colors may look the same, each dyehouse has its own unique colors. This is what makes each dyer unique.

About patterns of Furisode
Furisode tells a story
Furisode is the first formal kimono for unmarried women, and it is often patterned with lucky symbols, which does not have much of a seasonal sense. Cherry blossoms, autumn leaves, and chrysanthemums are all drawn on one Furisode kimono. Various seasons coexist. In a previous order we received, we were asked to make a pattern for a Japanese instrument orchestra. So we combined many patterns of Japanese musical instruments, such as koto, flute, and taiko, to create the world of a Japanese orchestra. It’s fun and a great show of skill whenever a story or sense of the world can be expressed in a single Furisode.
About Succession
Because it’s so easy to disappear…
Kata yuzen is a skill that is too good to be lost. On the other hand, the craft requires a large work area and physical effort, so techniques can easily be lost if the work is left unfinished. So, I want people to recognize the beauty of Kata yuzen, and I am still exploring, but I would like to keep people discovering it.
Our values
Passed down from generation to generation
We will continue to work in Kata yuzen and to preserve it in the future. While others are changing to inkjet dyeing, we want to stick to “stencil dyeing”. We also take over molds from dyeing shops that are closed down and dye the kimonos by using them. I believe that by passing down the stencil patterns, we are helping to preserve Kata yuzen.

Meaning of tradition
Changing form to fit the era
“Kyo-yuzen” has been changing its designs with the times. For example, the designs of 100 years ago are completely different from those of today. Kyo yuzen is a craft that has been upgraded according to the era. Today, the brand “Kyo Yuzen” itself is becoming a tradition, and I would like to pass it on while changing its form to preserve the name.