Known for its towels, Onibara in the town area of Tamagawa is located among the mountains of Imabari city.
With its plentiful and beautiful underground water, the source of Soja River has affected the development of Imabari textile production. In the area there is a small workshop…
Created in the looms of workshop ‘Oriza’ are not just towels, but also cotton scarves, shawls and caps.
Amazingly, the machines used here are old style looms from 100 years ago!
Mr. Takeda, the workshop’s representative, worked as a manager at Imabari’s local towel maker, and is a craftsman at heart.
The old-type shuttle looms that disappeared during the age of mass production grabbed his attention, and he searched all over Japan to find old looms that were considered junk. He then restored, improved and remodeled them with his own hands again and again before finally creating the one-of-a-kind “Kijaku inline machine”. From there he began manufacturing.
Creating fabrics with a somewhat nostalgic and warm feel, textiles that are made slowly with low tension on the old-type machines bring out the original texture of natural ingredients such as cotton, silk, and linen.
Another charm of textiles made in this way is that they are durable and gain more ‘individuality’ with use.
In parallel with creating textiles on this old-type loom, manual labor and ‘analog’ methods are employed at the workshop.
As an example, though nowadays most places use a computer to save time, Oriza uses punch cards as patterns.
Even the yarn used in production is twisted and dyed at the company, and after the products are washed, they are dried naturally. All products are seamless, so they feel good next to the skin.
By weaving fabric in ‘waves’ with warp and weft threads, (world’s first), Mr. Takeda developed the tate-yoko yoroke mojiri-ori (‘warp & weft wavy leno weave’) to express the Seto Inland Sea. It was chosen for the third Monozukuri Nippon Grand Award.
The technique creates mysteriously three-dimensional fabrics that feel soft to the skin, that breath and keep in warmth superbly.
Though the products are sold at apparel and selected shops around Japan, at the factory shop in Imabari you can see and touch all the products of Kobo Oriza.
Naturally, you can also take a tour around the workshop, and apparently even try weaving using an old-type treadle loom!
Woven ‘life wear’ made in a peaceful environment near the sea and the mountains that fits well the slow pace of life in the Seto Inland Sea area … Do come by for a visit.
Address: 55 Onibara, Tamagawa-cho, Imabari city, Ehime prefecture 794-0117
Business hours: Weekday 9.30-16.00 / Saturday, Sunday, National holidays: 11.00-16.00
Homepage: http://www.oriza.jp (Japanese)
Setouchi Finder Photo-writers:
Text: Tomoko Kawai (Dream Network Activity)
Photographs: Takabumi Yanagisawa (Dream Network Activity)
> A guided tour, including teatime, where you can see the former “Koshien Hotel” – “Frank Lloyd Wright type” architecture by Arata Endo. / Koshien Hall at Mukogawa Women’s University (Nishinomiya-shi, Hyogo)
> Experience the ancient way of salt making on Kamikamagari-jima Island on the Tobishima Kaido in Aki-nada! / Kamagari Ancient Salt Making Remains Restoration Pavilion & “Amabito-no-Moshio” (Kure-shi, Hiroshima)
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