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kenema

Chusen, A Traditional Dyeing Technique

Slowly but surely, tenugui have been booming. With their delightful texture and the appearance of stylish patterns, tenugui have become popular among men and women alike. In the midst of this boom, Miyamoto Co., Ltd. has been creating tenugui using the chusen dyeing technique, almost to the point of being stubborn about it. The company was founded in 1949 in Osaka’s Higashi Ward as a manufacturer of tenugui and diapers. in 2005, Miyamoto launched a new tenugui brand—kenema. kenema was named after the three elements that sustain the aesthetics of the Japanese, namely: beautiful sentiment, beautiful tone, and beautiful spacing.

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Bleeding and Irregularities are Part of The Flavor

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The most distinctive feature of kenema’s tenugui is that they are dyed using the chusen technique. Chusen is a particular kind of stencil-based dyeing. With chusen, a starch paste is first applied, then dye is poured onto both sides of the layers of fabric (which have been piled one on top of the other), creating a dyed pattern. The tenugui fabric is dyed on both sides, which gives it a particular three-dimensional quality that cannot be enjoyed with any other printing technique. Another characteristic of chusen is that the dye penetrates the multiple layers of fabric at different rates, which means that each layer of fabric dyes slightly differently. Because the work is mostly done by hand, differences in temperature and humidity easily impact on the final finish, from moment to moment. It is easy for the dye to bleed or for irregularities to appear. However, this bleeding and irregularity is part of the unsophisticated flavor of tenugui.

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