Japan Atlas: Traditional Crafts 
Kiryu Textiles


Location: Kiryu City, Gunma Prefecture

Number of companies:

Number of workers:


Silk textiles with interesting variety of patterns  

Kiryu Textiles are woven using yarn dyed thread. Combining various thickness and colors of threads, a skilled weaver can produce beautiful silk textile with diverse patterns. Production takes place not far from Tokyo in Kiryu City and the surrounding area in Gunma Prefecture.  

This type of weaving dates back to the Tempyo era (8th century). The industry flourished because the waters of the Kiryu River were well suited to dye and wash textiles. After a silk market opened in Kiryu City in 1591, it became a base for the spread of the local fabric. 

New techniques for modern Kiryu Textiles were introduced from Nishijin weaves in Kyoto in the middle of the 18th century and after this, these weavers competed and technical expertise grew as in the saying "Nishijin in the West and Kiryu in the East." Whereas Nishijin weaves catered mainly to higher classes, the manufacture of Kiryu Textiles was backed by the enormous market of Edo (present-day Tokyo) and expanded as it mainly concentrated on the everyday wear of ordinary people. In 1977 Kiryu Textile was designated a Traditional Craft. 

In recent years computer technology has been introduced and subtle shades and fine patterns are also used to create motifs that look as if they have been painted. As Kiryu City passes on traditional expertise to the next generation, it is using harmony between their traditions and advanced technology to create new products and becoming a general center of textile production where workshops and factories exist side by side. 

Photo: Making Kiryu Textiles (Gunma Prefecture) 

Unauthorized reproduction of the photos in this page is prohibited. 

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