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Kaga Yuzen: Colours of Japanese Elegance - A Talk with Maida Hitoshi

Kaga Yuzen is the traditional technique of dyeing preserved in the Kaga area (Ishikawa prefecture) of Japan. Diverging from the original version born in Kyoto and developed in its own unique way, Kaga Yuzen’s characteristic style is well represented by an elaborative creative process – mainly used in kimono textiles – from designing the exquisite pattern to hand-dyeing by skilled craftsmen for the last half a millennium. The application of the distinctive colours as well as the sophisticated dyeing techniques make Kaga Yuzen textiles exceptionally desirable art pieces and thus prized as a luxurious brand in Japan.

In this special talk, the Japan Foundation has invited MAIDA Hitoshi, a descendant of Maida Senga Kogei, to guide us through the intricate creation process of Kaga Yuzen by showcasing the work and the captivating workmanship of his workshop. In 21st century society, kimono may no longer be the prime attire for Japanese people, but MAIDA will also discuss how he, representing a new generation within the long-standing traditional artform, believes this beautiful craft could be sustained and evolve alongside modern life. The talk will be followed by a discussion moderated by Marjolein de Raat, a Japan Foundation Assistant Curator at National Museum of Scotland.

About the speakers

MAIDA Hitoshi was born in 1974 in Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture, Japan. As the third generation of a Kaga Yuzen dyeing family, Maida Senga Kobo (Maida Dyeing Studio established in 1932), MAIDA started learning the dyeing technique from his father in 1998 after studying architecture at Shibaura Institute of Technology in Tokyo. Since then, MAIDA has received numerous awards including the Japan Kogei Association award in 2018. While preserving the traditional Kaga Yuzen skills, he has challenged the development of the tradition and has been pushing Kaga Yuzen to a new stage, by displaying his works in hotels and fashion retail outlets such as Uniqlo in Disney World in Florida, U.S.A. Award-wining MAIDA is one of the most active craftsmen as well as a safe-keeper of Kaga Yuzen of the younger generation.

Marjolein de Raat is the Japan Foundation Assistant Curator at the National Museum of Scotland. She has an MA in East Asian Studies with a specialisation in Japanese Studies from Leiden University in the Netherlands. Her research focuses on cultural exchange between Europe and Japan in the early modern and modern period. In particular, she is interested in how this exchange is expressed in material culture, art, and fashion. In her current role, she works (amongst others) with the National Museum of Scotland’s collection of Japanese garments and textiles, studying the mutual exchange between Japanese and European fashion in the late 19th and early 20th century (Meiji and Taishō periods)."



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