Yarn weaves air – vol.4 –
A lot of time and memories flowing through this place are also woven together with the air. The towel is everything in Imabari image.
“We used to cross over to Osaka using a night boat and go around there in one day, then return to Imabari using the night boat and consider the great features and design of weaving based on what we heard there. At the end of the year, we went to Osaka with a night boat in which the seats were full and visited wholesale dealers in all day and then traveled to Tokyo during that night then took a bath at the Tokyo station that morning. Further, we started to visit wholesale dealers in Tokyo from 9 a.m. after that. Finally, we returned to Osaka to do business. We used to work 3 or 4 consecutive days like this. Now, we could figure out all about the towel, such as the yarn, the weight, the cost, how to design the woven and the pricing, Jacquard punched card and machine, and the production volume.” ( from Ehime History / Ehime Memories)
The most impressive thing was “People” when I visited Imabari for the first time. People have an open mind and friendly, like the port town with a warm and refreshing breeze. However, on the other hand, to commit “manufacturing good products” is required considerable efforts. In particular, the people in the towel industry dedicate themselves to the towel as if we wonder if they only talk about the towel “from morning to evening.” They are staking all their life.
We stepped into a towel weaving workshop. Masaoka Towel has led as a traditional towel manufacturing for 100 years, and the spirit “Always producing the genuine” as a craftsman has been taken over in great care. In the background that is manufacturing a lot of values of the highest-class towel toward the first-class domestic hotel, they thoroughly commit not only careful weaving techniques but also design yarn itself uniquely. They uniquely make the thick yarn from cotton that grows at San Joaquin Valley in California, USA, and weave up into beautiful textiles based on carefully calculating the pile length and volumes. They produce custom-made for all, including the process from making yarn to weaving, to fulfill the requirement of each first-class hotel (some of the greatest names) according to its atmosphere and values. Therefore, the looks and texture are completely different.
Dozens of weaving machines are operated with a terrible noise to weave up into various kinds of towels in the workshop. “If prioritizing only speed, we cannot create high-quality products.” – Some old Italian weaving machines which have a stately atmosphere were also operating at full capacity. Evenly looped yarns are carefully woven. It was the first time for me to feel that a towel was such a refined-looking textile. Although the speed and efficiency of weaving are inferior to the latest machine, its towel has an exceptional beauty looking, and the finishing technology has never achieved even the modern tool yet.
Each yarn is packed with human wisdom and ingenuity. And a lot of time and memories flowing through this place are also woven together with the air. The towel is everything in Imabari image.
There is a record, “Towel-Bito(the meaning of human).” The city library of Imabari has an original database based on its own planed and interviewed. The records have continued since 2012. The purpose of the project is written as follows, and we would like to introduce it here.
“Imabari Municipal Library ensures to gather and provide information exhaustively regardless of publishing inside and outside the local area in business support provided by local public libraries, especially in services related to local industry support. Above all, the history of the textile and the towel of Imabari has remained as a record by the research of many people in the past, and many users also use the materials in Imabari Municipal Library. However, the current situation is that there are few documents from the postwar period to the present day.
This survey conducted with the cooperation of Chisako Tsuji, an Associate Professor from Josai University, and interviewed the related parties about historical paths in the towel industry from the postwar period through the period of high growth to the present. And its purpose is to leave the memories of those who have supported the towel industry to the record. We hope that these materials could be useful as essential documents in the history of Imabari towels in the future. The technological development/development philosophy of those involved in the towel industry shows the traditional mind from our ancestors who have lived in the Imabari region. It means “People” is the starting point of manufacturing. We would like not only to reach Imabari spirits to the towel Industry by following the path of those involved in the towel industry but also to feel everyone.”
It is a record that we carefully interviewed each person about their background, their training period, their own business, and their passion for development. These are exactly “Records of the Memories of People.”
People produce products, and many stories are also born simultaneously.
●Please confirm the Imabari Municipal Library of Database “Towel-Bito” as below.
- PhotosYoshiyuki Mori
- WordsAtsuko Ogawa
- DesignNoriaki Hosaka
- Translation Mina Ishikawa