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Tokyo, Asakusa: Aomori BORO Culture became Art     東京/浅草 アートになった青森のボロ布文化

by H.Yamauchi

Work clothes that became torn in a poor condition like to come out in an old story.
It was clothing used in Aomori, a poor and snowy place.
An exhibition is now held as a “beautiful BORO (rag cloth) exhibition” in Asakusa, the leading tourist destination in Japan. (Amuse Museum, until 2019/03/31)


Some of those smudgy fabrics were used and appeared on the episode scene depicting Japan in good old days in the movie “A Dream” directed by Akira Kurosawa. It was Mr. Tadasaburo Tanaka, an ethnic equipment researcher, who offered the worker costumes.
Mr. Tanaka has visited the villages of Aomori for 40 years to collect daily necessities in order to know the people’s clothing, food and life of the Jomon Period, Approximately 15,000 years ago (around the 131 th century BC). (He is the founder of the Shimokita Museum.)
In old days, in Aomori, a cold district, cotton wasn’t able to be cultivated, and it was said that linen was used for the daily clothes of the citizen living in rural fishing villages regardless the seasons.
Although such a rag wear has been hidden as a shame of Tohoku, it has become an impressive textile art at the beautiful BORO exhibition, seems like a fashion show.


The technology and the mind, to politely and carefully make patches, were expressed as a beautiful custom in a film, directed by Kurosawa in the world. The techniques of the quilted coat, which was applied for warmth and reinforcement, have led to traditional crafts such as Tsugaru Kogin-zashi.
Aomori rag-cloth culture was a valuable custom as a vintage fabric of people’s livelihood.



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