Taking over person to person – vol.3 –

The knot of Mizuhiki is the art itself. It is so beautiful.

I visited Ando Yuinouten, a craft workshop for Mizuhiki. There is the seaside town, and a small solitary house is a studio.

Shikokuchuo City, located on the eastern side of Ehime Prefecture, paper mills line up one after another and a paper producing area. A distinct aroma wafting in the air comes from the factory. All kinds of paper products, such as industrial paper or toilet rolls, are manufactured here. Around this region called Uma in the past, and craft Washi had produced enthusiastically before industrialization. Eventually, mechanization progressed, and all kinds of paper products started creating in this region.

“Iyo Mizuhiki” is also generated from this area. Matsubara is blessed with Mitsumata plant (Oriental paperbush) and Kozo (Broussonetia papyrifera) harvested from a mountain range of Hoosanmyaku, and water and suitable for drying work. Motoyui in the Edo period (a thin cord tied up paper) is the origin of Iyo Mizuhiki and spread with handmade Japanese paper simultaneously. Since the Meiji era, Mizuhiki, the material of the original Moto-yui, has developed as a gift of money, Yuino (exchange of engagement gifts), and a Mizuhiki craft. Association of Iyo Mizuhiki Kinpu cooperates with traditional artisans and is closely engaged in conveying the history of Mizuhiki to the local schools or people, as a Japanese tradition as well.

Ando Yuinouten I visited is also one of the Mizuhiki workshops run by Ando and Murakami, traditional artisans. Both of them are over 70 years old, but they are still active as craftsmen. Delicate traditional handicrafts are lined up in the small space, and they are created by receiving direct orders for wedding ceremonies, including large-scale works. Initially, Ms. Ando’s deceased husband worked as a traditional craftsman on Mizuhiki crafts. And now they are taking over.

The knot of Mizuhiki is the art itself. It is so beautiful. The patterns of the knot are well over 500. There are Ume Musubi, Takara Musubi, or so on. Each of them has its name and meaning. They all express “celebrating to connect to people,” containing a wish into the knot patterns. They use only their hands as the tool. It’s simple but superb. There are many different colors of Mizuhiki, but Murakami says, “There is no better color than modern crimson.” The sense of color is also really modern. The pure crimson color has a commanding appearance. Murakami is also a flower arrangement master and is a woman who is continually improving her aesthetic sense. She pursues the color and shape. More than anything, she is a person who never forgets to “convey their spirits.”

The beauty of Mizuhiki, which makes us feel the living things, creates a connection between people and celebration. Furthermore, they have an essential role that connects person to person.

´╝ŐReference: JAPANGRAPH vol.3 “Ehime” / Publisher the company of Nanakumo
  • PhotosYoshiyuki Mori
  • WordsAtsuko Ogawa
  • DesignNoriaki Hosaka
  • Translation Mina Ishikawa