August 20, 2019 Tue
Chirimen silk

Walk anywhere in Yosano, and the humming clickety-clack of a silk-weaving machine is never far away. Yosano (and the Tango region in general) is famous throughout Japan for producing Tango Chirimen (also known as Tango crepe), a type of silk. The region is one of the oldest silk-producing regions in Japan, and the consistently wet and humid climate in the region is ideal for the process, as silk threads break more easily in dry air. Accordingly, silk production is one of the town’s biggest industries and forms an important part of the local economy. The distinctive feature of Tango Chirimen is the crimping on the surface of the cloth, created as the result of a special production technique. The crimps make the fabric hard to wrinkle and soft to the touch, and the bumps diffuse light, thereby displaying the richness of dyed colours. Chirimen silks are used to make a wide variety of decorative goods, but they are especially prized for kimono, Japan’s traditional dress. Every year, several events (the biggest of which being the Kimono Festival in September) are held in Yosano and the region to celebrate this local industry, and display the beauty of the fabrics. Even if a festival isn’t taking place, the town runs silk-weaving workshops for interested visitors; anyone can learn the age-old silk-weaving methods for themselves, so if you find you find yourself in Yosano, why not give it a try?

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