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History of the Matsusaka Coton

In the latter half of the fifth century weaving technologies called "AYAHATORI" and "KUREHATORI" were developed in the present-day city of Matsusaka. Matsusaka became a very important centre in Japan for fabric production due to the introduction of these new technologies. In the year 698 textiles produced in Matsusaka were commissioned as regular offerings to the God Amaterasu.

When Cotton originally from Egypt and India found its way to Japan in the 15th century, it became immediately popular among the public in Japan. It was found that conditions in Matsusaka were very good for production of this new material. This new material and the weaving technologies already in place in Matsusaka led to the birth of  "Matsusaka momen"  in the early 16th century.

The motif of the  Matsusaka Coton

The artistic taste of the women producing this new cloth coupled with the skill of Merchants from Matsusaka led to annual sales in stores in Tokyo of 500,000 units equivalent to half of the population of Edo. The distinctive stripped pattern of Matsusaka momen which also became know as  "Matsusaka jima" found its roots in a cloth called  "RYUJOUFU" originally from Vietnam. Ryujoufu as the name literally suggests resembles the strong thin pattern of the veins running through the willow tree leaves. The thin striped patterns called "SENSUJI" and "MANSUJI" became the traditional patterns for Matsusaka momen. Even in present day when Kabuki actors wear a stripped kimono they refer to it as wearing a Matsusaka. Such is the powerful association between Matsusaka momen and the stripe.


"IKI" a concept held in great regard by people in Edo was a way of life in which they acted and appeared sophisticated, educated but cool without looking gaudy and outlandish. Matsusaka momens stripes when viewed from a distance appearing almost invisible but their delicacy and beauty appearing only when view close to, fit in perfectly with the IKI concept. So the people of Edo became to regard Matsusaka momen as a symbol of IKI. The changes in the cloths color due to washing only adding to its IKI value. 

National treasure

The manufacturing process of Matsusaka momen is now regarded as a national treasure. Old people often say cotton is something they can’t live without even for one day, it is such a powerful spiritual asset. Our unique products are designed and arranged in line with this spirit of IKI. The unforgettable spirit of IKI lives on in these small goods. The pride of IKI will be passed along through them.

Products made of Matsusaka Coton