Noh is a traditional art form with 650 years of history. We have designed a handkerchief based on a precious Noh costume from the Gashoen Noh stage of a performing group.
One of the activities of Gashoen is to understand and support the thoughts and ideas of our ancestors who have created history, in other words, the core of our history, while transforming it into a form that meets the needs of today. On the other hand, Blooming Nakanishi, the parent company of this brand, has been involved in handkerchiefs for more than 140 years. They have a long history and are a reliable partner. The collaboration handkerchief focusing on Noh costumes (Noh costumes) will start in 2019.
We will introduce the background of the birth of this product with a part of the conversation with Mr. Yoshiteru Ueda, a Noh actor of the Kanze school.
Noh costumes are repaired by the actors themselves and continue to be used for hundreds of years
The first thing that really surprised me was that the Noh costumes used on the Noh stage are not used once and then finished, but are used for hundreds of years over many generations. The fact that the actors themselves maintain the costumes by repairing any tears or fraying, drying them out, and airing them out is astonishing.
They re-sew their own clothes from previous generations and even earlier. It's a special kind of costume where the actors themselves take responsibility for repairing it.
There is a dialogue with our ancestors. I'm sure that my great-grandfather chose this costume with this in mind. I have a dialogue with the costumes, thinking, 'I see, I understand why.
In addition to Gashoen, there are 400 to 500 other costumes at the Ueda Noh Theater, and no two are alike.
The more costumes we have, the more choices we have when we want to play this piece. The more costumes we have, the more options we have to choose from when we want to do a song. We design all the costumes ourselves, and the costume-makers create them. The number of one-of-a-kind costumes increases one by one. We never give them to another family. It is their property, their heirloom, their secret treasure."
I was overwhelmed by the splendor of the textiles and Japanese embroidery in front of the Noh costumes that he produced one after another. I felt a mixture of excitement and anxiety as I thought about how to express these exquisite handicraft techniques on a handkerchief. The technique I chose was Vietnamese hand embroidery. (Designer)
My father (Mr. Takuji Ueda, representative of the Kanze school of Noh) played the leading role about 400 times, but he only used the 'turtle costume' and 'carp' once or twice in his life. There is a kind of costume that is used for the stage where you really put your life on the line.
Breathing new life into tradition
(Mr. Yoshiteru Ueda)
We were very grateful that they trusted us to design and arrange the whole thing. To tell the truth, we were very nervous until we finished. It's not quite the same as the original, but I think it's because the original costume was so wonderful that we were able to make it into a satisfying handkerchief item. I would be happy if these handkerchiefs could make customers feel closer to Noh. ( Designer )
We are very happy that the costumes we have inherited from our ancestors have been given a new lease of life in this way. We are also delighted to see that the costume has taken on this form. I think it's something that was made possible because we worked together on it. I'm glad that through Noh, people can think about the meaning of tradition and history. I'd be happy if people could think about that.
Ueda says that the event has given him an opportunity to think about the nature of new culture and art.
Weaving and Connecting Thoughts
Through this precious collaboration opportunity, we at CLASSICS the Small Luxury were reminded of the many thoughts that can be put into a handkerchief, and the connections that can be made between people through a handkerchief. We believe that these "feelings" and "connections" are the role that a handkerchief can play.
This handkerchief is made by breathing new life into the design of Noh costumes that have transcended time and are still alive today. We hope you will enjoy this "new art" that combines the traditional Japanese beauty of various patterns with the skills of skilled craftsmen.
Gashoen is an organization represented by Takuji Ueda of the Kanze school of Noh. Based in the scenic Shukugawa area of Hyogo Prefecture, they are involved in a variety of activities to make Noh more accessible to people of all ages.