About giga choju tenugui
Harada-san designed giga choju in homage to choju giga, a 12-13th century scroll found at Kosanji, a Kyoto temple. The scroll is a Japanese national treasure from the 12th and 13th Centuries and credited as the oldest manga. Giga choju is a play on the Japanese word ‘ginga‘ that means galaxy, with the familiar characters of choju giga posing as constellations. The chusen craftsman expertly mixed small amounts of purple and moss green into the blue dye to express the ‘galaxy’ to great effect.
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.