Kumejima-tsumugi (久米島紬) is the Japanese craft of silk cloth practised in Kumejima, Okinawa Prefecture. Kumejima-tsumugi is the oldest type of tsumugi in Japan, out of the approximately two hundred forms of tsumugi,[1] and is the oldest kasuri fabric.[2] It is recognised as one of the Important Intangible Cultural Properties of Japan.


Silk production has been practiced in Kumejima since the 15th century, after a local, having studied sericulture in Ming Dynasty China, transmitted the techniques. Mulberry plants, the primary foodstuff of silkworms, is said to grow particularly well on the island.

By the 17th century, kumejima-tsumugi formed part of the tribute paid to the Ryūkyū Kings, and it was transported to Edo via the Satsuma Domain.[2][3]


Silk floss is extracted from silkworm cocoons and spun by hand into yarn. It is then dyed with the kasuri technique, using indigenous plant dyes and a mud mordant to give it its characteristic black-brown colouring; the plants used are the guru, techika, kurubo or Japanese persimmon, yamamomo and yuna, or cotton tree hibiscus. Finally it is woven with a takahata (高機) loom, and fulled by block.[3][1][2]

Intangible Cultural PropertyEdit

In 2004, the Kumejima Kasuri Technique Preservation Society (久米島紬保持団体) was founded, and kumejima-tsumugi was designated one of the Important Intangible Cultural Properties of Japan.[3]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "Weaving and Dyeing - Kumejima Tsumugi". Okinawa Prefecture. Archived from the original on 27 September 2011. Retrieved 19 March 2011.
  2. ^ a b c "Kimono - Okinawa". The Cultural Foundation for Promoting the National Costume of Japan. Archived from the original on 21 February 2016. Retrieved 19 March 2011.
  3. ^ a b c "Database of Registered National Cultural Assets". Agency for Cultural Affairs. Retrieved 15 March 2011.