Japanese Gastronomy on Noren/暖簾/Entrance Curtains by Koutarou Mizuno/水野光太郎光太郎!

the other as I was reporting on the Tea Festival in kanaya, Shimada City, I was invited by a local to visit a special art exhibition privately held by a local citizen!

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I understood at once it was about dye works when I found the noren/のれん/entrance curtain!
Shizuoka Prefecture is famous for many dye works artists including Keisuke Serizawa and his disciples!

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The artist name was Koutarou Mizuno/水野光太郎!

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Koutarou Mizuno was actually born in kanaya in 1911!
he graduated from the Japan university industrial studies Faculty in Architecture in 1932.
He was very active in teaching in many national schools until 1977 and departed from this world in 1992 aat the age of 81
After a fateful meeting with wood block print artist shigeru kuriyama/栗山茂 in 1950 he became an active dye-work artist from 1951 until his last days!

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The artist’s sketchbook!

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The initial dye works!

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The artist kept his passion alive till his last days!

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Vegetable Noren!

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fruit noren!

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Eggplant noren!

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Daikon noren!

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The exhibition included other dye works such as these fruit!

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Vase noren!

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Flower kimono!

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Flowers and plants partition!

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HIGHOCTANE/HAIOKU by Nick Itoh in Shizuoka City

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3 thoughts on “Japanese Gastronomy on Noren/暖簾/Entrance Curtains by Koutarou Mizuno/水野光太郎光太郎!”

  1. Hi again, DragonLife..

    This post was of interest to Barbie and me on a number of levels.

    First of all, we have come to love noren as a decorating and art-form, as well as in their historic and cultural sense, and use a number of them in our home decor and even a very short one to top the rear window of our Nissan Pathfinder.

    Second, with our love of blue-and-white china-ware, pottery, and traditional Japanese fabrics, we’ve long delighted in the natural indigo dyeing technology and its creations.

    But further, my eye was caught by the other colors/dyes used in these pieces, particularly the browns and ochres…..did you happen to learn how he created these? I can’t help but wonder if they are due to the use of Kakishibu, the fermented juice of unripe persimmons?

    Are you familiar with this most interesting and (I think) uniquely Japanese product, traditionally used, not only in dyeing, but also in waterproofing, as in washi kasa (umbrellas) and other paper rain-gear, but also as a protective finish for exterior architectural wood and bamboo?

    One of the fascinations fiber artists find in kakishibu is that after being applied, it actually (and counter-intuitively) gets DARKER with sun-exposure, rather than fading, as other dyes tend to do!

    And, in one of YOUR other particular areas of interest, it is also traditionally used in producing the filtering-bags for clarifying sake…actually I believe, that’s still it’s number one utilization.

    As an architectural innovator, I’ve been fascinated by this technology for some time, as potentially applied to environmental building, and am always seeking more information on other traditional uses of this rather unique product of Japan.

      1. Thanks, Robert,

        I look forward to what you find out. A fiber-artist from western Washington State, USA, studied this art technology while living for several years in Kobe, a stay there specifically dedicated to researching Kakishibu and gathering information about it.

        The result was a first english-language book on the subject, published in 2008 – “KAKISHIBU, TRADITIONAL PERSIMMON DYE OF JAPAN, by Chris Conrad. I first met her at the Aki-matsuri at Bellvue College near Seattle. Her website is http://www.kakishibui.com and it sponsors an english-language discussion forum on the topic “for everything kalishibu”.

        In the book, she includes links to a number of resources, including to the Japanese Kakashibu-club – http://www.kakashibu-club.com , with pages in both Japanese and English. Their blog is http://blog.goo.ne.jp/kakishibu_2006/ A definitive book in Japanese on the subject is THE BOOK OF KAKISHIBU By Mr. Kyoujun Imai.

        I trust these leads will help with your research. So far as I can tell from Chris’ book, she was unaware of the work of Mr. Koutarou, but she will be now,as I’ll be sending her a link to your write-up here on him… 🙂 – Don

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