The history of kumihimo, which lustre colors kimonos
Ryukoubo creates a traditional craft called “kumihimo” which is used for obijime and other Japanese accessories that add color to kimono outfits. The family business has been in business for more than 130 years, and the store is located in Nihonbashi. We interviewed the owner, Takashi Fukuda. “Counting from my grandfather, I have inherited the Edo-mae kumihimo technique for five generations now."
As long as there are three bundles of thread, the act of assembling is called "Kumigumi". It was the end of the Edo period that the "kumi-dai" for assembling strings was created, and till then, a group of several people braided the strings by holding up their fingers and passing the strings to the next person.
“However, in the late Edo period, Kumihimo has been used as a practical item for armor and armors, such as armor helmets and sword handles, and Fukagawa Geisha started tying obi to their kimonos, and the name "obijime" was given by the obi to tie the odaiko(drum) knot. This was the first time that kumihimo was used for women's wear. In order to increase productivity, various types of looms were made such as round looms (marudai), square looms (kakudai), ayatakedai looms, high looms (takadai), kagouchi looms, and naikidai looms.
How is it passed down the complicated technique of making kumihimo? "For example, Kouta is taught by word of mouth(口移しkuchiutsushi), but in the case of kumihimo, it is called “hand copying”(手写しshushashi). We do not sit face-to-face with the master while he is working, but we see and learn by observing movements of the masters hands and fingers from behind. This is how it is passed on to the next generation.” The delicate traditional techniques have been handed down from hand to hand to this day.