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Sugomono, Excellent Products of Ehime

Mizuhiki

Mizuhiki

Colorful decorative paper strings which have been produced since the Heian Period

Mizuhiki is produced mainly in Shikokuchuo City. To make this decorative string, washi (handmade Japanese paper) is twisted, glued and dried. Mizuhiki of Iyo area is said to originate in the motoyui (paper string used to tie up the hair) in the Heian Period. Mizuhiki was developed in this region, because raw materials for washi such as Kozo and Mitsumata are available from the Houou mountain range, in addition to abundant water from the Dozan River. Presently, mizuhiki is not only for yuino (engagement presents), but also arranged into brooches and hair accessories in contemporary styles.

Paper Product

Paper Product

Shikokuchuo City is the No.1 paper producing city in Japan

Stories about Shikokuchuo City were made into a film, "Shodo Girls! Watashitachino Koshien (calligraphy performance competition)" made Shikokuchuo City famous as a "Paper City." It is the No.1 city in Japan regarding the manufacture value of pulp, paper, and paper processing (statistics by Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, 2012). Paper manufacturers and paper processing businesses are located in this city, which produces various items. People say this city "can produce any paper product except stamps and paper currency." Now some products are manufactured with state of the art technologies.

Washi

Washi

We feel the presence of tradition and the warmth of something handmade.

Shikokuchuo City; Uchiko Town; and Shuso Area in Saijo City are the three largest washi production areas in Ehime Prefecture. In particular, Shikokuchuo City has produced "Iyo Tesuki Washi (handmade Japanese paper)" for more than 200 years. In the middle of the Meiji Period, "Iyo Kairyo (improved) Washi" was born. On the other hand, "Ozu Washi," mainly from Uchiko Town, is recorded in "Engishiki (an ancient book for codes and procedures on national rites and prayers)" in the Heian Period and subsequently was designated as a Traditional Craft of Japan. These areas have continued to produce various washi including hanshi (paper for calligraphy) which has long been cherished by Japanese calligraphers.

Kikuma Gawara (tile)

Kikuma Gawara (tile)

This oxidized-silver, shiny tile is famous for its globally-acclaimed beauty.

Kikuma Gawara (tile) has reportedly been manufactured since the Kamakura Period (around 750 years ago). Kikuma Town in Imabari City, which produces this product, has a warm, dry climate. Its production developed for these reasons: tiles could be naturally dried; both raw materials (clay) and fuel (pine wood) were abundant; and transportation for distribution by ship was convenient. As its color is ibushigin (oxidized silver), it is called "Ibushi Gawara". As it is both elegant and robust, it is used for many buildings from private homes to shrines and temples.

Sakurai Shikki (lacquer ware)

Sakurai Shikki (lacquer ware)

The more you use this traditional folk craft, the shinier it will become.

Sakurai Area in Imabari City began producing Sakurai Shikki (lacquer ware) approximately 250 years ago. As this product features an affordable price with high-quality, it has been popular with many people since olden times. Along with technological developments, the manufacturers have improved their skills for chinkin (engraved design with gold leaf or powdered gold filled in grooves) and for makie (designs created by sprinkling silver or gold powder on the picture drawn with lacquer). Presently, they offer not only standard bowls or trays, but also wide-ranging products including panels with the foot prints of one's new-born baby and artistic, crystal products.

Iyo Kasuri (fabric with splashed patterns)

Iyo Kasuri (fabric with splashed patterns)

Iyo Kasuri, which is beautifully woven with navy and white thread, is one of the three major kasuri fabrics in Japan.

Iyo Kasuri, manufactured in Matsuyama City, is one of the three major kasuri fabrics in Japan. In the late Edo Period, Kana Kagiya (a farmer woman) began weaving some kasuri in her spare time. In the Meiji Period, along with the improvement of looms, the production of Iyo Kasuri increased. Iyo Kasuri became popular nationwide. Its tasteful navy color is highly valued. Typical patterns include igeta (a parallel cross pattern), juji (cross pattern), tamamon-yo (dotted pattern), asamon-yo (hemp leaf pattern). All of these patterns are simple and emphasized by the contrast of navy and white.

Nomura Silk

Nomura Silk

This silk is offered to the noble Ise Grand Shrine as Shikinen-sengu goyo-ito (strings offered for transfer of a deity to a new shrine building once in a prescribed number of years).

Nomura Town in Seiyo City is located in a hilly, mountainous area. It has flourished with livestock and silk farming since ancient times. Silk farming here began in the early Meiji Period. Silkworm cocoons are spun into raw silk thread. Silk farmers grow silkworms from May to November, and subsequently collect the cocoons. They pay keen attention to prevent silkworms from contracting diseases, as silkworms are delicate. Nomura Silk is used to reform Noh shozoku (Clothes for Noh drama). It is also offered as goyo-kiito (silk strings) for Shikinen-sengu (transfer of a deity to a new shrine building once in a prescribed number of years) which is conducted every twenty years at the Ise Grand Shrine.

Hime Daruma (doll)

Hime Daruma (doll)

This adorable regional toy represents Ehime Prefecture.

Around the forth century, the Empress Jingu stayed for a while at Dogo Onsen (hot spring) while she was pregnant with the Emperor Ohjin. The elegant Hime Daruma (doll) was made in memory of the graceful appearance of Emperor Ohjin who was wrapped in red floss silk clothes. The main raw material for Hime Daruma was changed from wood to paper, and to string (i.e., Itokake Hime Daruma). Finally, the Kinran (gold brocade) Hime Daruma appeared. Various methods have been tried to produce new dolls; however, its rounded shape remains unchanged.