The Creations of Yamakatsu

A seminar on Kuromontsuki dyeing

Nagoya and the surrounding environs, which lay rightful claim to the birthplace of modern Japanese culture, offer the visitor to Japan unlimited potential for historical and cultural exploration. If one is fascinated by traditional Japanese apparel, for instance, there is no better place to study the art of silk kimono dyeing than Nagoya’s Yamakatsu (Nakamura Shoten); as for the very unique practice of kuromontsuki (black and white crested dyes), it might be the only place.

The people at Yamakatsu specialize in hand-crafted dyeing of kimono and other traditional Japanese apparel. All of the methods used at Yamakatsu are labor intensive, involving a great amount of specialized knowledge, materials and equipment. The beautiful patterns of bokashi-zome (seen below) found on an authentic, hand-made kimono are a pure form of art, a labor of love in the truest sense. Sadly, with the exception of a few dedicated artisans, very few places in Japan still create genuine hand-dyed kimono fabrics.



Yamakatsu also prides itself on its lovely kuromonstuki creations. These stylish patterns are traditional, yet boldly eye-catching and seriously modern. Achieving an evenly-graded blend of black and white is the challenge in this method, and much more difficult than one might expect. By using any of the lovely, multitudinous Japanese crests – which is only possible with the use of original patterns and materials – one has the opportunity to create a design that is fashionable, striking and personal all at once.



Yamakatsu offers the occasional workshop in traditional dyeing techniques. On March 17 a kuromonstsuki class will be held at the Nagoya Castle Hotel. Here’s an opportunity to visit beautiful Nagoya, take in the castle as the first cherry blossoms are emerging, and even create your own kuromonstuki design.  Lunch is included.

For more information, or to make a reservation, go to:

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