A drop of water 4 – Winter



A dragon runs between the mountains. I think that it’s white, nebulous body continues forever, as if it wrapped around the peninsula. It’s true identity is revealed in a profuse amount of fog. When the morning chill becomes severe, water vapour rises from the sea and mountains, and if you climb to a higher area, a sea of clouds sits splendidly below you. I’ve never seen it in reality, as to do so one has to wake up very early in the morning. But I have seen the photographs.


Don’t forget to bring your umbrella even if you leave your lunch behind”. This climate is peculiar to the Sea of Japan, called uranishi, and even if it’s sunny, there’s a good chance it will suddenly rain again. If you see an elderly person out for a walk, most of them will have an umbrella in their hands.They use the standard onomatopoeic words for rain, potsupotsu and parapara, but as an old lady explained, in local dialect piripiri is rain so fine it makes no noise falling on an umbrella. As becomes this fickle climate, people here are naturally particular with words interpreting the weather.
If the weather becomes inclement, sleet or hail will fall. “The size of hail in the city is like sleet here”. I watch the wipers in my car swoosh away the heavy sleet on the windscreen. I feel that the clouds, which these days are always low, are pushing downwards on my body. Until just a moment ago, the moon lit up the sky so brightly. Oh! So this is uranishi”. This is the climate that created the shape of our lives, gave birth to our words, and cultivated our textiles. The wet climate is thread-friendly.


Surrounded by the sea and mountains, this half-closed land has made people private, inward looking. There are barbs on the bars of windows here, discouraging prying eyes, and a sign declaring, “Do Not Enter” hangs at the entrance of the hataba. In the old days, they didn’t even know what the factory next door was weaving. In fact, it
seems that there were times when the same product was produced and the wholesaler was forced to compete on price.


No more weaving”, people who have spent more years than anyone else in these hataba, say. But still, they head for the looms each day, continuing their journey. When they weave a new fabric, they say, That won’t be approved by the client”, but the next time we meet, they say, I tried weaving something I haven’t tried before”, revealing their unwavering creativity. Why do they still go to work, even while saying that it’s too difficult and a waste of time? To a place that is dark, cold and exhausting to both their physical strength and mental energy? I wonder if those people shed tears in the shadow of their looms? I wonder if there were times when they didn’t know how to go on.


Yesterday and before that. My father’s generation and earlier. Twisting thread with dripping water, weaving textiles. Theyreally believe in it”. I was told that men of that generation were proud of their hataba, but couldn’t say it out loud. I’ve always known that their exuberant, child-like eyes, are reflected in the dripping water.


The closed land slowly began to open its door. Light shone into the darkness behind the loom, at the end of the trampled dirt floor. What was illuminated was a unique tradition, enduring yet inefficient and time-consuming. There were friends who shared their feelings. By knowing each other’s skills, they were able to elevate the strength of their work. It may be like looking at a field of plants from afar. A myriad of aggregates form a large landscape, but when you look closer, not one is the same. The Hataba that once exceeded 10,000 have skillfully learned through ingenuity to survive in the larger denominator. Everyone has refined their skills to create fabrics that can only be woven here.


A Drop of Water


The collection, of designs and hataba techniques, was about to be completed. With more than 50 fabrics developed, a variety of expressions that you wouldn’t think were born in one area, are revealed. Dripping water knows the reason.


People with various livelihoods live in this land where beautiful textiles are born. Farmers, fishermen, Sake maker, cooks, bakers, hunters, dairy farmers, brewers, carpenters, furniture makers, arborists, gardeners, writers, architects, photographers, doctors and midwives. Whether you were born or raised in this land or not, you will be fascinated by the charm of the place. People talk about it in ways that conjure up in others more sentiment than any eloquent speech might. The road that each has taken on their journey intersect here, and life continues. Its appearance is in those vermilion dots.


At the end of the summer, in the afternoon sunlight, I took a sharp intake of breath when I realized a bright vermilion thread was woven into the fabric that I had thought was perfectly black. Innumerable intersections are woven in the meeting of warp and weft. I heard that the patterns of weaving structures are as many as the number of stars in the night sky. Once you untie a single thread, the abyss of the universe overflows. These are the textiles and people of this land.


I thought it had been half closed here, surrounded by the sea and mountains, but this may not have been the case. They built a kingdom by incorporating technology from overseas. They crossed mountains and collaborated with others to create the cutting edge
of the times. Even distant cities can be connected over time and distance. At all times, half shut was half open.


Drops of water.


The thunder that signals the arrival of snow rumbles. The hataba becomes icy as the snow piles up outside. The loom is cold enough to freeze, and the dripping water disappears somewhere, leaving only the cold. I thought of the people who continued this work patiently, exhaling their white breath into the freezing air. I wish I could turn into a drop of water and become a part of this land. Only one drop is needed. To become part of the land in an unbreakable fellowship.
Spring will come soon. I will welcome the time, here in this land, when the sky is once more full of light.

project team

Project Team Organizer


Project Team Members

TCI Laboratory,Co.,Ltd.

Nue inc

Tango Textile Industrial Association

National Government

経済産業省 近畿経済産業局
METI Kansai Bureau of Economy,
Trade and Industry