Vol.01: TAKENOSENKO - Roll dyeing -

Vol.01: TAKENOSENKO - Roll dyeing -

Sakai City, a corner of Osaka Prefecture, has been a hub of various industries since ancient times.
With the highest per capita value of manufactured goods among government-designated cities in Japan, its streets are lined with factories producing a diverse array of products –there were guns in The Sengoku period to contemporary production of knives, bicycles, and incense.
Among them, the industry that could be considered the symbol of this city is the cotton industry.
Starting with everyday items such as cloth diapers, nightclothes, and gauze, Sakai City is now famous as a major production area for "tenugui" (Japanese hand towels).
This legacy is preserved by TAKENOSENKO, a business that has kept these artisan techniques alive for over 70 years.

dyeing process by Takeno Senko

The roll dyeing method, born about 100 years ago, was originally introduced for mass production.
However, as demand decreased and many competitors were forced out of business, TAKENOSENKO faced a turning point.
They succeeded in what was once considered impossible, "double-sided roll dyeing," and shifted to higher value-added products.

dyeing process by Takeno Senko

The main methods of dyeing tenugui are: immersion dyeing, printing, and roll dyeing.
Currently, there are less than ten craftsmen in the whole country who can handle roll dyeing, and only six dedicated machines exist.
Two of these machines, old machines that have been in use for over 70 years, are owned by Takeno Dye Works.
Their existence is precious because if they break down, it will be difficult to pass on the technology.

roll dyeing machine

Roll dyeing is a technique where dye is flowed onto a mold with a pattern carved into it, and bleached fabric is pressed against it to dye.
It uses a technique called "intaglio printing," similar to copperplate engraving where designs are carved into metal plates weighing as much as 40 kg.

iron roll

The name comes from the roll-shaped mold picking up ink and dyeing the fabric.
The fabric to be dyed is sandwiched between two rolls, one of which dyes the fabric while the other presses in the dye.
It requires not just turning the machine, but also subtle adjustments of pressure by the craftsmen, as too much pressure can crush the pattern and too little can blur it.

young dyeing craftsman

Especially important in this process is the "blade" that scrapes off unnecessary dye during the dyeing process.
Crafted from a piece of stainless steel, the blade is sharpened using a file and whetstone by the hand of the craftsman.
The sharpness of the blade must be just right; too sharp or too thin will reduce its strength and fail to produce a clean pattern.
If the blade is not perfect, the pattern will blur and the dyeing will have to be redone. It is only when one can discern this subtle sharpness that they can be called a full-fledged craftsman.

dyeing blade

Takeno Dye Works also creates all of their own dyes. They create any color by blending over 50 base colors. The possibilities for color expression are infinite, as a 0.1g difference in blending can change the hue.

blended color

Moreover, the viscosity to adjust the dyeing condition is also important; if the dye is too watery or too thick, it is difficult to dye. This fine adjustment is also a craftsman's handiwork. Furthermore, they use their own products for the paste that serves as the color fixative, creating one that is resistant to color fading.

young dyeing craftsman

For the method of dyeing tenugui, Roll dyeing might not be well known within that. However, Takeno Dye Works has developed a technology that can only be achieved here: double-sided dyeing with different colors on the front and back.

double-sided dyeing tenugui

This is not a particularly difficult technique for thicker fabrics, but achieving double-sided dyeing on thin fabric like tenugui is unique to Takeno Dye Works in the world.

double-side dyed tenugui

The craftsman's skills at Takeno Dye Works have elevated their tenugui to a one-of-a-kind masterpiece in the world.

Takeno Senko young craftsman
Retour au blog