What is Kyo Yuzen

Kyo-Yuzen is a dyed product including kimonos that are hand-dyed or pattern-dyed using a dyeing technique called Yuzen-dyeing on silk fabrics.

Kyo-Yuzen has the longest history among the three major Yuzen dyeing techniques in Japan, and is characterized by the beauty of its use of multiple colors to express the world of painting through dyeing, and is said to be synonymous with the Japanese kimono. Some Kyo-Yuzen were embroidered and decorated with gold and silver leaf.

Kyo-Yuzen spread in the late 17th century, the Edo period. When the shogunate at that time issued an extravagance ban, prohibiting extravagant kimonos such as gold gauze and embroidery, Yuzen dyeing, a technique not subject to the ban, became widely known in Kyoto as a gorgeous yet elegant method of dyeing.

The origin of Yuzen dyeing is hand-painted Yuzen, but around the end of 19th century, with the flowering of civilization, glossy chemical dyes with a large number of colors were introduced to dyeing, and the technique of mass dyeing patterns by stencils was invented, which led to its rapid spread and dramatic development as the pattern-dyed Yuzen at the present time.

In 1976, Kyo-Yuzen was designated as a traditional craft by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, and is highly regarded around the world.

Photo courtesy of Yoshie Dyeing Factory Ltd.

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