About Rakugo Tenugui
Harada-san designed this rakugo tenugui to commemorate the promotion of a Edo-rakugo storyteller, Daidokoro Osan, to the master level called shin’uchi. The storyteller in the tenugui is an iron-pot yokai monster performing in front of other familiar kitchen utensil monsters. The yokai is reciting the well-known classic tale of “Tokisoba,” which can be literally translated as “time soba,” about a man taking advantage of a soba hawker that flourished during the Edo-period. The highlight of this story is the spectacular soba slurping. Read more about rakugo in our blog->
This tenugui was designed by Harada Fumiko and hand-dyed by the craftsmen at Iseyasu Chusen Studio, which has been in business for three generations in Tokyo’s Edogawa ward. The Iseyasu craftsmen use the Chusen dyeing method in which a stencil is used to apply a ‘resist’ to each of the approximately two dozen layers of fabric that are folded and stacked on a vacuum table. The dyer then uses glue on the top layer to create barriers to separate different colors of dyes. Finally, the dyes are poured from the top and pulled through the layers using vacuum pressure that creates identical patterns on both sides of the fabrics. The Chusen method drenches the fabric’s fibers in dye, leaving room for the colors to mix and the edges to blur into a very appealing effect. Although mostly a manual process, Chusen uses just the right amount of mechanical assistance to lessen the labor intensity while providing room for the craftsmanship to shine.