As awesome as it looks -- this isn't actually about the mask but the elaborate pattern of the tenugui the person is wearing around his head! Made by embroidery brand Kyototo.

Kyototo: Elaborate Embroidery from Kyoto and Tokyo

How to modernise the beauty of Japanese dyeing and embroidery tradition with sophisticated design and typography? Ask Kyototo about their wordplay in scarlet letters! This embroidery brand is manufactured by a workshop in Kyoto, but designs and concept come from two sisters based in Tokyo. So for today, PingMag talked to Kayoko and Miyoko Horiba from 3min about Kyototo.

Written by Chiemi
Translated by Natsumi Yamane

First, how did Kyototo as an embroidery brand get started?


Kyototo’s stylish embroidered logo.

We were initially asked to do the website for an embroidery workshop called Duomo in Kyoto, who wanted to show the appeal of embroidery and bring new dimensions to the art. Although Duomo as a workshop had a lot of skill, they didn’t have any products to show on their site. So we thought, Why not make a new embroidery brand? And that’s how “Kyototo” started.

What’s the meaning of “Kyototo?”

We named it after the idea of artisans in Kyoto making products designed in Tokyo, which in turn is issued throughout the world. Many skilled craftsmen gather in Kyoto so that, for example, the making of a kimono alone is divided into various processes. Since traditional Japanese culture seems to be gradually fading, the absolute amount of labour is inevitably decreasing and it’s difficult to send out messages independently. That’s why we made “Kyototo” for everyone to join and do something exciting.

Two utterly delicious coin purses: “Horohoro” embroidered with the kanji for ”flower” (left) and “Pirapira” embroidered with the characters for “goldfish” (right.) The patterns are based on the delicate beauty of nature, such as the four seasons.
Simple but elegant: fabric chopstick holder “Chiuchiu” embroidered with the kanji for “sparrow.”

So you do all of the product planning over in Tokyo?

The designs are all done in Tokyo but when it comes to actually manufacturing the product, some of the designs don’t work out due to technical and cost reasons. There are times when we consult the artisans and make changes to the design. Our style is to work together and to respect each other in the process. Our Kyoto side looks after the manufacturing one hundred percent.

All of your products so far are based on traditional Japanese aesthetics. Did you have any other standard in your product design?

Basically, we try to keep the price within the affordable range for people’s presents. Also, when we did an exhibition at Souvenir from Tokyo in Roppongi in August, we created goods that followed a special concept.

The exhibition at “Souvenir from Tokyo” in Roppongi in August.

And what’s that concept?

The first item we made was a tenugui, which has a fixed size of around 37cm by 90cm. We set this size as a basic unit and designed a yukata using materials 14 times the size of it, cloth place mats using half of the unit and a Kyoto style uchiwa fans that used one third of the unit. Basically, we made all our items based on either the multiples or divisors of this original unit.

Tenugui “Kaikai” embroidered with the kanji for “Frog.” Its size is one unit to be used as standard measurement for all the other products.
A Yukata (left) made using the fabric 14 times the size of the tenugui and a small amulet (right) made from 1/24 of the basic unit.
The Kyoto style uchiwa is made using exactly one third of the size of the tenugui.

Ah, that’s what you meant by the “halves” and “thirds” we saw on your website. Also, you always use red threads for embroidered letters — does that have any meaning too?

Embroidery is created by threads. We decided to use red with the implication of connecting Kyoto and Tokyo, connecting or passing on the traditions to the future and also because red is a typically Japanese colour.

There really seems to be something special about red threads. Did you also have particularly foreign customers in mind when using kanji for your embroidery motifs?

That too, but we do wordplays with the kanji on the tenugui and its packaging for the Japanese to have fun with it as well. For example, the bottom right pattern is embroidered with the kanji for “fox” on both sides of the shrine gate motif, but its package is embroidered with the hiragana for “kuwaai”, which is an archaic onomatopoeia for the sound of foxes, often used in traditional stage arts such as Kyogen.

From their concept leaflet: from left to right, “Horohoro” depicting falling blossoms, “Zanzan” showing falling raindrops, “Wanwan” describing the buzzing of mosquito wings, and “Kuwaai” with the sound of the foxes. Sophisticated graphics!
The tenugui “Putoputo” depicts flying butterflies with its kanji; its package on the right. The translucent silhouette of the product inside has a soft and gentle feel.
Tenugui “Konkon” showing steadily falling snowflakes.

Your typography is also quite unique: What did you have in mind here?

Japanese usually find the cursive calligraphy style of writing attractive. However, when the characters are too well-written, foreigners who can’t read them perceive them more as graphic images and find it difficult to recognise them as characters. So we standardised them in a neat and tidy Gothic style font for kanji and something a little bit softer for hiragana.

Bale-shaped pillow “Horohoro,” embroidered with the kanji for “Flower.”

That’s not the only thing: You have a special way of dyeing the materials too.

Yes, we initially had this idea of dyeing the original drawings with Japanese ink to let the red embroidery stand out. We asked a Yuzen dyeing artisan if it might be possible to use the ‘Kachin’ dyeing method used by Kyoto dyeing artisans that marks the outlines of the original drawing using Japanese ink. The artisan agreed to experiment, but Kachin dyeing is not designed to dye solid images like the ones we have on some of our Kyototo items. So it was a new attempt for the artisan too and he kindly went through a long process of trial and error to dye the patterns evenly.

An artisan dyes the entire stretch of a long roll of fabric.

Thanks to your efforts, we can really feel the tenderness of the hand-dyed patterns! What are the next steps for Kyototo?

Right now, all our patterns are made by print dyeing and embroidery. However, we would like to create products that can be realised by embroidery alone. Other than that, we plan to do collaborations with temples in Kyoto and Kabuki actors as well. And at the moment, we are having an exhibition at Kyoto Handicraft Centre until the 20th of this November, which is where tourists come to shop for souvenirs.

We can’t wait to see more about it! Kayoko and Miyoko Horiba, thank you very much for Kyototo!

  • Pingback: Tokyo Motor Show 2007 - Honda CRZ

  • roku

    the mast at the start…naruto ANBU? =p

  • http://www.ticketpoint.de Billigflug

    Awesome! I love the combination of white red and black or gray! Well I am looking forward purchasing some works. Thanks for publishing them!

  • http://www.sylviamyga.com sylvia

    so clean and simply!love it!

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/clairish/ Claire

    Very pretty, and I appreciate the visual puns, but I don’t like the string that leads from one bit of embroidery to another. I imagine it must be intentional, but I think it looks sloppy.

  • Provi

    So beautiful. So elegant.

  • Pingback: daidesign » Blog Archive » Kyototo=传统印染和刺绣+现代设计

  • http://www.studiocirq.com.au lindsay van niekerk

    Do you have the street address for Kyototo – their website has the address in Japanese only. Would love to visit the place!

  • http://www.paracini.net kimlik öğren

    So beautiful. thanks

  • http://www.paracini.net/parakazan kitap sat

    so clean and simply!love it!

  • http://www.paracini.net/parakazan kitap satarak

    Very pretty

  • http://aylikekgelirim.blogcu.com/Ek+Gelir/ ek işler

    so clean and simply!love it!

  • http://www.vinalinen.com Thai LOI

    Dear,

    VinaLinen is hand embroidery Company.

    We offer a wide range embroidered product such as :
    napkins, tablecloth, bed linen… baby and children garment.

    Our product ranges are for retail, wholesale, hotel, restaurant, cruiser boat, hospital,
    Home For all uses Wedding, Birthday, Celebration, Party, Familly dinning and magic moments.

    As a manufacture we also can supply any kinds of embroidered product just according to the enquiry of clients.
    Our capacity production is large and we respect industrial standard quality
    with affordable prices: vinalinen.com

    Regards,

    Thai LOI

  • http://www.e-logo.co.uk/ Parminder Singh

    this designs are really nice.. good post and helpful to understand concept..

  • http://www.bfc.com.tr forex

    your very good health effort :)

  • http://www.azginvideo.net porno

    kaliteli porno videolarin degismeyen adresi.. So beautiful. thanks

  • http://www.kerhaneee.org porno

    this designs are really nice.. good post and helpful to understand concept..

  • http://www.kerhaneee.org porno

    this designs are really nice.. good post and helpful to understand concept…..

  • http://www.kerhanee1.com porno

    this designs are really nice.. good post and helpful to understand concept…..
    ..

  • http://www.konteynerprefabrikev.com konteyner

    Really awesome collection of photos. I run almost a 3000 machine fleet of vending machines, but we don’t see anything like some of these!!!

  • http://www.amgguvenlik.com cctv kamera

    I wanna say thanks for this nice technique, it is neccessary for us… and helpfull

  • http://www.swing-lyrics.com/ Swing song lyrics

    NICE Technique, however you cant align PNG’s to the right as background images in IE6 and below…using a GIF in that situation would suffice.

  • http://www.thebestteethwhiteneronline.com the best teeth whitener online

    john gray

  • http://www.iwantmyownpodcast.com podcast marketing scott paton

    Nice website. Awesome job.

  • http://www.aysex.net porno

    weerbaarheid is een essentieel onderdeel van de ontwikkeling van de mens.

  • Anonymous

    Yeast Infection is something you dont knead to live with there is many cures

  • http://www.easymoney-instantpay.net Easy Money Instant Pay

    Make some serious money within 48 hours.

  • http://www.virtualblackswanmarketing.com Backlink Profit Monster REVIEW, SCAM or Even The Real Deal? You’ve come to the right site.

    You can Be capable of geting more Higher Public relations backlinks than all of your rivals, Find out precisely what your competitors do so your in a position to out do them, Get enough Higher Public relations backlinks to rank on page one or even better #1, The best of this is its click on the computer mouse three times and get access to HIGH Public relations backlinks …[more details]

  • http://buydoctor.info innovative healthcare

    Thanks for the information about this topic.

  • http://www.tuscanywind.com energie rinnovabili

    Pannelli Fotovoltaici

  • http://www.thedietsolutionbyisabel.com/ The Diet Solution by Isabel

    Nice site.Really interesting reading.Thanks for the post.

  • http://www.detektei-map.com Detektei

    Danke f�r die Information. Ich habe eine Detekei in meine n�he gefunden. Viel Erfolg weiterhin und Gr��e aus Seesen.

  • http://www.affiliatemarketingprogram.blogspot.com Affiliate Marketing Reviews

    Your comments on the sunami were greatly appreciate and right on track. Keep up the good work

  • http://www.adulturk.org porno

    After everything else have failed, you came to the right place.

  • http://www.heyycanli.com goruntulu sohbet

    süper site

  • Affiliate Marketing Reviews

    The formula 2 + 2 = 5 if you are a Republican Member of US Congress

  • http://janisproductions.net Wedding Video Philadelphia

    Simple but still nice. I like the purses!

  • http://janisdigitalmedia.com Video Production Philadelphia

    Hmm, I think they forgot to cut of some of the emrboidery threads? 0_o

  • http://srahomeproducts.com/sunroom.html Sunrooms South Jersey

    I actually like their choice of colors. Somehow translates the delicateness of emrboidery.

  • http://kandjfence.com Fence New Jersey 

    Classic Kanji!

  • http://myweb-traffic.com/ united health dental insurance

    Thanks,I am sure my visitors will find that very useful.

  • http://www.busygolfer.com golf supplies

    Hi, I like your website. I’m currently looking for golf supplies in the UK & USA.

  • http://mightysolos.info Get 125.000 visitors Free with Mighty Solos

    Owner Mighty Solos

  • http://www.fashionlouboutinsale.com/ christian louboutin

    Very Nice! makes me remind the coloured performance of the early pink floyd!

  • http://seeclearwithoutglasses.com See Clear Without Glasses

    Your business sounds interesting. Why is it important to the industry?

  • http://eliminateuterinefibroids.com Eliminate Uterine Fibroids

    Your business sounds interesting. Why is it important to the industry?

  • http://information-automotive.blogspot.com Information Automotive

    Good Article …. Excellent !!!! visit automotive :-bd

  • http://www.realelixir.com อาหารเสริม

    เปล่งประกาย ควบคุมการทำงานของเม็ดสีผิวให้เป็นปกติ

  • http://www.realelixir.com อาหารเสริมนาตาลีเดวิส

    จากประสบการณ์กว่า 20 ปี เกี่ยวกับธุรกิจยา และอาหารเสริม พร้อมความมุ่งมั่นที่จะพัฒนาอาหารเสริมของไทยให้ทัดเทียมกับระดับสากล เพื่อตอบสนองทุกความต้องการของทุกกลุ่มผู้บริโภค ทั้งเรื่องของคุณภาพ และราคา จนได้รับการยอมรับจากกลุ่มผู้บริโภคจากหลากหลายสาขาอาชีพ ไม่ว่าจะเป็น กลุ่มนักธุรกิจ พนักงานออฟฟิศ แม่บ้าน นักเรียน นักศึกษา ไปจนถึงกลุ่มศิลปิน ดารา นักแสดง

  • http://www.lenguablanca.net Lengua Blanca

    Amazing job, very beautiful.

  • http://cybermonday2011dealslist.blogspot.com/ Cyber Monday 2011 Deals List

    Cyber Monday 2011 Deals List my blog. you can shopping online Cyber Monday Sale have product HDTV,3DTV,Tablets,Laptops,Netbooks,Notebooks,Game Consoles & Electronics, you can see list Best Cyber Monday Deals and buy cheapest product and super saving shipping from AMAZON.COM

  • http://www.panatweb.com Movies and TV Series

    wat a nice post

  • http://www.yoogly.net reza atayee fard

    I was Mtalbtvn

  • http://onedaycarinsurance1.com 1 day car insurance

    A few weeks ago my family and I went on vacation and had to rent a car. When at the car rental counter we were asked if we wanted to buy one day car insurance. Not knowing what 1 day car insurance was at the time time we figured we better be safe then sorry. So of course we did.

  • http://www.abdominalmuscle.org Abdominal muscle

    I think this is all politics

  • http://awesomerecipes.net awesome recipes

    One of the informative article I have ever seen. Thanks for the update.

  • http://www.thevisayas.com The Visayas

    I’m very lucky to have found this website, this is exactly what I have been looking for All I can say is wow, you hit the nail by the head.

  • http://ilikebigmuscles.blogspot.com/ Healthy and Strong Body Tips

    ilikebigmuscles.blogspot.com is the best site I have seen out there that have really good tip of how to workout, eat healthy food, what are bad/good of protein how much is good and bad. So check it out :

  • http://howtogetawomanback.org How to Get a Woman Back

    This is an extermely interesting website with very nice articles.I have bookmarked and will check back often. Thank you for your contribution.

  • http://www.rollup-awnings.com roll up awnings

    Hey this is awesome blogs. Keep posted usefull information. Thank you

  • http://www.love-2day.com Social Network

    Enter to the safest social networking site! Love GENERATION –> http://www.love-2day.com Free Forum Free Blog Free Ads

  • http://tiny.drfusion.net/1130 Recreation and Business

    Yes I like your comments and i hope you also like my suggestion here. Please click to view.

  • http://www.gametriot.com christmas crossword

    Hi Very informative page, I will be back to view more. Keep up the good work.Play free flash games at http://www.gametriot.com ,It is a place for one who cannot live without gaming.

  • http://illslickfc.blogspot.com illslick

    Thanks for this post. It is very useful. I hope you will write an article. This issue again.

  • http://www.temple-jewellery.com/ Temple Jewellery

    This piece of information is a gem for me, very helpful, really a great piece of writing, thanks for the effort made, really impressed.

  • http://www.temple-jewellery.com Costume Jewellery

    This piece of information is a gem for me, very helpful, really a great piece of writing, thanks for the effort made, really impressed.

  • http://www.renover.se Bygg

    Thanks for this post. It is very useful.

  • http://www.decorcraftservices.co.uk Painting and Decorating

    If you are seeking a well-seasoned group of veteran painting and decorating professionals in the London area, your search is finally over when you discover the greatness of DecorCraft Services. With over 50% of our customers coming from the good works they tell others about, the clean and expert atmosphere that our professional crew of painting and decorating professionals will bring is phenomenal. We are respectful and complete every assignment that we are given in the most accurate and timeliest of fashions, and take into account the budget that you may have set for the project.

  • whirlpool washers

    Hi ….. I have information about Whirlpool washers, you should read them and get tips and tricks commersial business with Whirlpool washers.

  • http://www.polnische-band.motet.de M�nster Berlin Bremen D�sseldorf Hamburg Hannover K�ln D�sseldorf Stuttgart Bochum Essen Duisburg

    Deutsch polnische Band, polnische Hochzeitsband, Hochzeit, Hochzeiten

  • http://gunlukkiralikev.com.tr istanbul günlük kiralık

    Haftalık kiralık villa kampanyalarımızı takip edin, beş yıldızlı otel konforunda, SPA, türk hamamı, açık ve kapalı havuz ayrıcalığına 95 TL ye sahip olun

  • http://www.goadvertisetomillions.com advertise to millions

    Im so happy, now that I found your website, your contend is very informative and educational. I will always come back for

  • http://www.al5harj.com/vb/ الخرج

    {…} i like {…} Thanks for the good works منتديات

  • http://www.renover.se Fasadmålning Stockholm

    Another useful article again. Thanks.

  • http://highhyip.com/join-liberty-reserve/ invest liberty reserve

    This is the accurate PingMag – The Tokyo-based magazine about “Design and Making Things” » Archive » Kyototo: Elaborate Embroidery from Kyoto and Tokyo blog for anyone who wants to act out out roughly this matter. You attending so some its nearly tiring to present with you (not that I real would want…HaHa). You definitely put a new spin on a topic thats been statute most for years. Fastidious hokum, but major!

  • http://www.sphinx-asia-wealth-management.com Sphinx Asia News

    “Sphinx Asia has teams of experts across a wide range of investment capabilities and they regularly produce insightful and impartial commentary – so we have made advisers’ lives a bit easier by consolidating this into one place alongside the tools they need to help provide the best investment advice for their clients.

  • http://www.stopitnow.gr ηλεκτρονικο τσιγαρο

    Thanks for usefull site