A long time ago, Tokushima was a big-time indigo producer.  Athough natural indigo dyes have largely been supplanted by synthetic dyes, there are a few diehard (pun intended) farmers growing the stuff, and indigo-dyed products are sold in every local souvenir shop.

This year, the students at my daughter’s school are involved in an indigo project.  They started in the spring, when they planted indigo seeds and tended the sprouts.  By summer, the leaves were big enough to harvest.  They were dried out on tarp.  Now the leaves are fermenting in water in a big vat.  The kids take turns stirring the stinky, goopy brew.  When the mixture is ready, they will dye handkerchiefs.


5 thoughts on “Indigo

  1. oh, you should see if you can rent (can you netflix to Japan?) Daughters of the Dust, a beautiful film about a community of former slaves and their descendants on the sea islands off the South Carolina coast, who make indigo.

  2. Thanks for reminding me of that film. I’ve wanted to see it for a long time. I’m fascinated by Gullah culture. I even have a sweetgrass basket made by a Gullah woman in my living room here in Japan. I may just have to buy the DVD.

  3. The dye also reminded me of a film… Japanese anime… 1991 “Only Yesterday”…. with a great ending… one of the best uses of music (song ‘The Rose’) used in a film since perhaps Casablanca. That closing scene is great… as her child self and classmates look on.. as she comes to terms with her life etc… modern classic.

  4. Thank you, Suzanne, for visiting my blog. I left you a comment in reply to yours, but realized that you may not go there for a while. And thanks for the link to my blog. I have to rush, now, but I’ll be going over your entries. I think I will add a serie of links including expat writer moms. I know two already, and I’m sure there are more. I’d love to know more about you: would you like us to exchange emails ? I look forward to hearing from you.

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