History of indigo dyeing

Indigo is the oldest plant dye known to man, and the only plant dye which produces a indigo blue colour. Indigo dyed cloth was used for the mummies of Tutankhamen around 1300 BC, and it has been used since 2000 BC in India, which is the oldest main production area of ​​indigo dye.

In Japan, Tateai, which is native to Indochina, have been introduced from China during the Asuka period (6th century). The oldest indigo dyeing in Japan was from 752 where it was used in Buddha’s eye-opening ceremony, and for the manufacture of aristocratic clothing.

In the Kamakura period (14th century), the darkest indigo colour was called “KACHI-IRO” and Sumurai believed this coloured kimono brought them luck during Samurai wars. Therefore aizome clothes were very popular amongst Samurai. Then, in the Edo period (17th century), people used aizome dye for various items such as kimono, work clothes, japanese half curtains (NOREN) so on. The city of Edo was full of indigo.

English Scientist Robert William Atkinson, who visited Japan in the Meiji era (19th century), praised Japan, which was all indigo, as “Japan, Blue” and Lafcadio Hearn (Yakumo Koizumi) who was a Japanese writer of Greek-Irish descent, as “Japan is a country full of mysterious blue”

However, due to the recent importing of cheap Indian indigo and chemically synthesised artificial indigo, aizome dyeing nearly disappeared. Tokushima Prefecture supported famers who produced Tadeai and aizome industries.

  • Anti- insect properties
  • Anti-bacterial properties
  • Anti-inflammatory properties

Fire Protection-Aizome dyeing makes fabrics fire resistant so they used to use as uniforms for firefighters during EDO period.

Material Strength-Materials dyed with aizome have a 30% increase in strength as opposed to a 10% decrease in strength of fabrics treated with chemical dyeing. Beside the sheer beauty of the finished product they are many reasons why people love aizome products so much.

After your purchase, we will calculate your postage and contact you. After we receive your payment for postage, we will start process your order.

  • Aizome (Yamatoai) 10g
  • Indigo reducing agent AZ special (powder) 15g
  • Wood stick x6
  • Rubber band x 10
  • Gloves x1
  • Aizome (Yamatoai) 20g
  • Indigo reducing agent AZ special (powder) 30g
  • Wood stick x10
  • Rubber band x 16
  • Gloves x1

Oh hi there 👋 It’s nice to meet you.

Sign up now to receive information on upcoming workshops, the latest products from our webshop, and authentic Japanese craft tips delivered to your inbox every month. We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

Scroll to Top