Supporting Company: Canon Marketing Japan Inc.

Hachinohe City AOMORI


‘Sakiori’ is a woven fabric that is produced from worn out cloth and garments torn thinly and then woven tightly into clothing and other products for daily use. Sakiori is woven with warps of cotton and wefts of thin worn out cloth. These fabrics are durable and warm, turning softer in texture with use.During the Edo Era, cultivation and availability of cotton was hard due to the cold climate in the Nanbu region in eastern Aomori. Therefore, cherished cloth was re-used as materials for weaving Kotatsu-gake or warm blankets, warm working clothes, Obi for Kimono, and so forth. Such work constituted manual labour for women during slack seasons on the farm.

A colourful ball of rolled up strips of torn clothes or fabrics.

‘Balls of strips called Nuki are used for weaving Sakiori. New fabrics are reborn by weaving, reflecting the characteristic colours and patterns of cloth from different periods of time.

We interviewed Ms. Sumiko Inoue at Hachinohe Nanbu Sakiori Koubou “CHOU.” She owns the crafts shop at the Craft Studio of Hachinohe Portal Museum hacchi, and sponsors Sakiori workshops while creating Sakiori craft items.

What made you interested in Sakiori?

One day when I was teaching my knitting class, I had a chance to see Sakiori and was drawn to it. At that time, I wanted to know the history of Sakiori and by any means how to make it, but I found no one here who knew anything about it, so there was no way of knowing. At that time, I obtained this blanket, Kotatsu-gake. In Hachinohe, there had been a practice of weaving a piece of Kotatsu-gake every year for the family. It’s said that new ones used to be placed over the old ones year after year. This cover happened to be spread at the bottom over a Kotatsu. It was stained completely black with soot when I got it. I kept washing it over three days and nights and at last the original colours appeared. I found the original yarns were obtained from cloth of the Aizu area in Fukushima at the end of the Edo Era and were re-woven in the Meiji Era. I heard yarns were scarce in those days, so gunnysacks were loosened and the short pieces of linen were tied together to be used as yarn. They were woven by hand at that time when there were no machines available. I guess it must have been such hard work, that the women wore holes in their palms . Women in those days kept weaving for their families,,,, I was so moved by their ingenuity and fervent passion.

What kind of work do you do to pass on the craft of Sakiori?

I put my Jibata or handloom in my Kobo, demonstrate weaving, and teach Sakiori to my students in the Sakiori classes. I wanted to provide people with opportunities to learn and enjoy Sakiori from childhood, so I asked the primary schools in Hachinohe to organize Sakiori clubs, and brought the looms there. So, I’m weaving together with the pupils there.

What kind of Sakiori items are you making?

Daily use items likely to fit into daily lives are being woven with Sakiori. My disciples are laboriously taking time to complete each item, one by one. You know, each item is carefully woven and completed at long last. I hope the user will feel more like making it herself after using it. In this way, by means of such products as these, I’d like to hand down the Sakiori craft technique in Hachinohe.

What kind of old cloth do you use for Sakiori, Ms. Inoue?

I make Nuki out of fishermen’s big catch banners, Yukata or light cotton bathrobes, worn out Futon mats and blankets, and backing cloth from Tanzen or oversized padded Kimono. Even though old cloth tends to be as expensive as raw materials, when weaving myself, I look for cloth that is as old as possible. Modern clothes are too strong with a mix of polyester, aren’t they? Different from the past, I feel more cloth tends to be hard to tear apart by hand. However, some of my neighbours kindly reserve older fabrics for me, so I kind of return some Sakiori items to them in appreciation and for further communication.

What would you like to do in the near future?

At this moment, I scarcely have enough time to weave myself….. When I am 80 years old, frankly speaking, I’d really like to weave all day to my heart’s content, laying floor mats from the entrance, hanging split Noren curtains, laying Futon, in a way, plenty of Sakiori things all over my house.

Sumiko Inoue

Ms. Sumiko Inoue was born in 1935 in Hokkaido. After having learnt Japanese and western dressmaking, Sumiko married the owner of Inoue Clothing Store. In 1971, she started Inoue Hand Knitting School after she obtained the Sakiori Teaching Certificate from the Nanbu Sakiori Preservation Society. In 2002, she was accredited as the Aomori Traditional Craft Master and, in 2005, she opened Hachinohe Nanbu Sakiori KOUBOU “CHOU” independently. Since 2011, Ms. Inoue has owned a craft shop at the Craft Studio of Hachinohe Portal Museum hacchi. There, she passes on Nanbu Sakiori to broad generations by sponsoring workshops and making Sakiori craft items. She wrote and published “Sakiori Textbooks, Primary, Intermediate and Advanced Grades” from LLP Gijutsushi Shuppankai, etc.


at the Craft Studio, on 4th Floor, in Hachinohe Portal Museum hacchi Address: 11-1 Mikka-machi, Hachinohe City, Aomori,
ZIP 031-0032 Japan
Shop Hours: 10:00-18:00 JST
Holidays; Tuesday all the year round
Telephone: +81-(0)178-22-8200

To Be Transferred to iichi

  • こぎん刺し
  • 堤焼
  • 八幡馬
  • 山形鋳物
  • あかべこ