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Japanese Clothes
Masugi Managing Director

Ueda Tetsuya

< 24, May, 2015 >


We have set an introduction article about Oshima Tsumugi (Oshima pongee). Well, this time, we are displaying an interview with Ueda Tetsuya who works as a managing director at Masugi; an Oshima Tsumugi production company.

Usually, on Oshima Tsumugi; the top of kimono or kimono itself, we don’t know what kind of them is better. Mostly invisible is the borderline. There are many mysteries around kimono. I suppose it is one of the causes that have made Japanese people not wear kimono. This interview at their main office in Kyoto will take off the mysterious smoke and let Oshima Tsumugi by Masugi show clearly.



Masugi's Oshima Tsumugi
"Hana no Tsudoi" (Assembly of Flowers)

Ueda Tetsuya: Basically, what technique they use makes the price. Like dots on displays and pixels on screen, the smaller points they use for representing the pattern, the higher the price becomes. However, it is also determined by dyeing tech and rarity. One day we used to have the price level. Lately, the production quantity has been on the decrease and we have never had.


Chaos on value has come to light because the production amount reduced, which caused the scene of Oshima pongee making confused. It also means bringing policy of each company dealing with Oshima pongee into relief. How about Masugi?

U: An almost tendency says the smaller the pattern is, the better and the more expensive it should be. I guess, however, it is easy producing at heavy price and difficult to make something good inexpensively. We have tried to supply the best ones as inexpensive as possible. It must be the remarkable difference between other companies and us. The most important is not being just Oshima Tsumugi, since we first design something fine and try to realize. First of all, we entered the making field because we found no Oshima pongee to be absorbed in at the time and decided to make by ourselves.


Technique to realize the fine patterns is beautiful for real. However, it spoils clothing to set the smallness on the main object. Their policy also explains why they are built in Kyoto, not Amami Oshima Island.

U: They produce Oshima pongee in Amami Oshima Island. Not design there, however. In old days, we used to design in Kyoto and go there for selling. We can still sell ours to other companies.


Ueda is not the haughty one who only directs in Kyoto ignoring the scene. He said he had moved to the island and lived for 2 years there. How is the actual scene of production?


Beautiful Sea of Amami Oshima Island

U: Talking about the scene of production, Oshima Tsumugi is produced by the old masters, about 70 years old or so. It is very difficult to live by weaving Oshima Tsumugi today. Though they used to produce about 280,000 a year in 1970s, lately have about 6,000 or so. The decrease naturally requests the makes at the end to reduce the price. You know, it is reasonable they have been poorer. Most of the manufactures are pensioners.


Old Folk Houses in Amami Oshima Island

U: If manufactures make an earnest effort, they will be the most invincible since create something from zilch, I believe. They can make it when full of creativity, but simple work won’t do. It is all up to each skill and sense, not to a career.



Amami Airport


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