Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles This is Takeda-senko, a Kimono dyeing factory run by the Takeda family. Kazuya Takeda has been dyeing kimono for 22 years, like his father and his grandfather before him. Today he’s dyeing four traditional kimono, which start out as patterned rolls of fabric. This process removes impurities. Takeda-san doesn’t make kimono and sell them in a shop. He dyes custom ordered-kimono, which means he has to create the exact color that his customer is looking for. Because those dye colors aren’t pre-manufactured, he mixes the chemicals for them himself. I'm making the chemicals to dye the fabric. There are as many chemicals as there are stars in the sky. I need to pick the right one to get the right color. The dyeing process will take several hours. The first step is perhaps the most challenging— creating the correct color dye. Getting the color exactly right requires years of expertise and an artist's intuition. Now that the kimono fabric has been prepared, he transfers it to his dyeing machines. There are two types of machines he uses to dye the kimono, and he’ll be using both types today. This machine cycles the kimono fabric through a basin filled with dye. Takeda-san makes sure that the kimono stays centered on the wheel by pinning metal rods to the fabric. He adds the dyeing chemicals to the front of the basin, which will slowly work into the fabric during the next few hours. This method is called hitashi-zome, which means boiling dye method. With this machine, the kimono hangs down into a dyeing pot and spins under the water. This, too, will take several hours, but unlike with the other machines, you can see changes immediately with this method. The results are stunning. This will be a beautiful red. While he waits for the dye to sink in, Takeda-san is constantly checking progress on all the kimono and making adjustments to the colors if necessary. If I don't move these rods, the kimono will end up with small lines in the fabric. When the kimono start getting close to the correct color, he dries a spot of fabric on them and compares it to the sample his customer requested. Hmm, I need to figure out what dye to add to get this color correct. Sometimes, the dye requires a bit of altering. Not bad, if I do say so myself. This color is just right. When the dyeing process is finished, he transfers them to another basin that will set the dye and remove any excess chemicals. What do you think? I can't see a difference. I think it's gorgeous, but I guess it's not done yet? Okay! It's not quite there yet. Just needs a little more. This will get rid of the extra dye. After the soaking process, he runs the kimono through a machine to squeeze out the excess water. And finally, he hangs up the kimono to finish drying overnight. After this, they’ll be sent to another shokunin to be sewn together into the finished kimono. This is a book of Japanese family crests, which are called kamon. Many families have had their crests passed down through them for generations, but for families who have lost their crest or don’t have one, Takeda-san says it’s perfectly normal to select or create your own. These crests are used in the type of kimono dyeing that his family is known for— kuro-montsuki. Kuro-montsuki is a type of formal black kimono with family crests located on the chest and back. The Takeda family uses a method of dyeing the crests that's unique to Nagoya, called Nagoya Kuro-montsuki. In this method they sandwich cut outs of the family crest with wire mesh, which they then sew to the kimono. This allows them to dye around the cut out, the final details are then painted onto the kimono, resulting in the crisp design you see here. The most formal crest kimono has five crests (two on the chest, three on the back). Less formal ones have three or just one crest on the back. The more crests it has, the more formal it becomes. Five crests is the most formal. Men's montsuki (crest kimono) comes with haori jacket. This is the kimono and this is the haori. This is a tie string called haori-himo. When do you normally wear black kimono? For men, you can wear this for funeral ceremonies, or a wedding ceremony. Really, for pretty much any type of ceremony you can wear this. For women, they normally wear a mofuku kimono for funerals. And they wear this type called kuro-tomesode for wedding ceremonies. This cloth will become a kimono. Is this biwa lute? Yes. If you tear out all the seams of kimono, it'll go back to this shape. So you can re-dye it easily, as well. Unlike with other clothes, kimono aren't cut with curves. It's all cut straight. Kimonos also don't show the stitches. This sewing technique is unique to the Japanese kimono. Our mission is to make kimono that you can wear for generations. If you want to dye a kimono black, you can just add some chemicals on it to make it look darker. But some spots might wear off and look white later. So I want to dye black kimono without using those chemicals so it ages well. I have a kuro-montsuki kimono that my grandfather dyed 80 years ago, and it's still beautiful. To dye kimono like him is my goal. What do you think about foreigners who want to wear kimono? That's wonderful. Please do. That's great to hear. I want them all to wear kimono. I really appreciate the foreigners who spread the culture of wearing kimono. Please enjoy kimono. Thank you very much. Thank you so much for everything today. You're welcome. Thank you, too. What's the best part of your job? The best part... Of course I'm happy when our customers like my product, but personally, I love the moment when I get the dye color perfect. It's great. I feel like a genius.