‘Fu’ means textile or fabric. ‘Bashofu’ is textile woven from the Basho tree fiber (Japanese fiber banana).

Bashofu textile has a history strongly associated with the Ryukyu Dynasty in Okinawa-ken long ago, and it was designated as an important intangible cultural asset in 1974.

Making bashofu is known to take plenty of time and effort.  It is said that the weaving process represents just 1% of the whole process.  The process starts with planting and growing basho for several years, meanwhile cutting leaves and tops of the core off three or four times a year only between March and September in order to soften fibers. Peeling, boiling and splitting follows cropping in autumn though winter season to make slender thread.  The process of just making thread has eight steps. After that, there are more work processes of dyeing, weaving and finishing. Furthermore, all of the steps have to be done by hand.

Because of its rich and varied expression of colors, lightness and unique texture soft to the touch, it is still loved today as material for summer Kimono.
Bashofu is a completely handmade product, so it cannot help but be expensive.

On Iriomote island I met Akiko Ishigaki san, native of Ryukyu island. I spend couple of days at her studio where she makes Kimono fabric with bashofu and yarn dyed with Ryukyu indigo and other natural dyes available on Iriomote island.

Ishigaki Akiko san
Bashofu fiber soaked in water before making finer threads out of it.


The typical twist


Ishigaki san repairing her grandmother’s old bashofu Kimono, more than 100 year old Kimono!
students working with bashofu at her studio


Tasty Goya!
Okonomiyaki( Japanese style pancakes) is cooking
Awamori party!


Kimono style of Ryukyu island is very different from Japan mainland Kimono style. Here, Kimonos are very light, made of banana fibre, short in length and worn without Obi! I love it!


Ishigaki san’s old Bashofu kimono I’m wearing!


traditional Iriomote dance! (may be!)

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