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Boro and the concept of Yo-u Nobi

The concept of Yo-u Nobi, Seen through an exhibition at AMUSE Museum in Tokyo: 


BORO is patched clothing with multiple small cloths that tell a story in their composition. Used for up to 4 generations, it demonstrates the opposite of consumer society today. This textile, some found with remnants tracing back to the Edo period, is now a well recognized art.

For villagers in snowy or mountainous areas who usually only had one kimono, cloth was often more important than food. Households would keep every single scrap of cloth they found, and it was not unusual for matrons to keep up to 1000 scraps. 


Nanbu Hishizashi Maekake Aprons – the last one made in the 1960s

The Nanbu district on the Pacific side of Aomori experiences severe easterly winds and long winter weather. Surviving season after season required an evolution of clothing culture that emphasized heat insulation and fabric longevity.

Forced to optimize every resource and yet harbouring the intrinsic spirit of making ordinary, every day things beautiful, these aprons were a mix of cotton, wool and hemp that gave protection and warmth, while carrying the unique aesthetic soul of the woman who made it. Diamond patterns were expanded upon with abstract images of plants and animals; you could often tell which apron came from which household depending on its style and intricacy.

“Having lots of expensive things is not wealth. Knowing what’s really important and necessary for oneself, that’s real wealth.”