The techniques of dyeing and weaving fabric (senshoku) are indispensable to daily life. In Japan, these techniques are the culmination of centuries of tradition and fashion aesthetics going back to the court culture of the Heian period (794–1185), the samurai culture of the Azuchi-Momoyama period (1568–1600), and the merchant culture of the Edo period (1603–1868).


  • 1 Process

    Japanese dyeing and weaving use three basic types of thread: silk fiber, bast fiber (e.g., ramie), and cotton fiber.

  • 2-1 The thread is woven into fabric.
  • 2-2 The thread is dyed.
  • 3-1 The fabric is dyed

    White fabric is dyed with designs in various colors. In yūzen dyeing, a resist paste is used to draw designs. In katazome stencil dyeing, patterns are created using stencils.

  • 3-2 The dyed threads are woven to make fabric

    Weaving is the process of interlacing vertical and horizontal threads on a loom to create fabric. Different dyeing and weaving techniques can be used to produce a variety of patterns. No matter how intricate the pattern, it is always made from an arrangement of vertical and horizontal threads.

  • 4 The finished fabric is used to make clothing such as kimono or obi

Artistic Techniques


Fabric dyeing (somemono) techniques


Weaving (orimono) techniques using dyed thread

  • Reference: Nihon Kōgeikai Higashi Nihon Shibu (Japan Kōgei Association Eastern Branch), ed., Dentō kōgei-tte nani? – miru, shiru, tanoshimu gaido bukku (What Are Traditional Crafts? –A Guidebook to Seeing, Learning, and Enjoying). Unsodo, 2013.

Well-known crafts