Yoshimatsu Higa continues traditional cultivation and production of Ryukyu Dye into its 3rd generation

Yoshimatsu Higa continues traditional cultivation and production of Ryukyu Dye into its 3rd generation

Soaking harvested Ryukyu-ai. July 13, Yamzato, Motobu


 

August 17, 2017 Ryukyu Shimpo

 

By Hiroshi Uema

 

Motobu – Ryukyu-ai (Ryukyu indigo) is a plant that has been cultivated in Okinawa as the base material for unbeatable indigo dyes since ancient times.

The Higa Ryukyu-ai Factory (Yoshimatsu Higa, President) produced Ryukyu-ai indigo balls using traditional indigo pots from June 22 through July 16 in Yamazato, Motobu.

The three people producing the traditional Ryukyu indigo were President Higa (Motobu), Takashi Sawano (Ogimi), and Nozomi Sato (Ogimi. The process involved submerging around 400 kg. of indigo leaves into a single cistern, which was done six times.

The result was a total of around 2,600 kg. of indigo leaves’ worth of indigo dye balls.

The facilities are deep in the nature-rich mountains, and have been in operation for three generations, from Higa’s grandfather Yoshitaka, his father Yoshiari, and Higa himself.

The indigo plants were planted and raised starting in November of last year.

Indigo making requires a large volume of water, and the facility makes use of a nearby spring.

Higa commented, “I want to continue to plant and grow Ryukyu-ai every year, and continue making dye.”

 

(English translation by T&CT and Sam Grieb)

 

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