Uza weaves hanaui to celebrate granddaughters’ coming-of-age

Uza weaves hanaui to celebrate granddaughters' coming-of-age

(From left to right) Rurika Fukuchi, Shion Uza, Sumi Uza, Rie Nakayoshi, and Suzune Hokama in Yuntanza-hanaui. (Photograph provided by White River Beauty Salon and Photo Studio)

February 25, 2018 Ryukyu Shimpo

By Shimizu Yuri

Eighty-three-year-old Sumi Uza of the Yuntanza-hanaui Industry Cooperative has woven four Yuntanza-hanaui long-sleeved kimono for her four granddaughters to celebrate their coming-of-age, starting with the eldest 15 years ago. In January, Uza’s granddaughters wore their kimono to take a ceremonial photo with her for recognition of her 85th birthday (a celebrated benchmark in Okinawa), and expressed their gratitude to her. Uza has overcome difficulties such as suffering a stroke and the death of her daughter, yet she still made kimono for these four. Her granddaughters say that they feel her love for them, and want to take care of her in return.

A long-sleeved kimono requires fabric measuring 13 meters or more. Uza used the delicate and gorgeous techniques of “Ti-hanaui,” unique to Yuntanza-hanaui. Weaving one kimono takes about 4 to 6 months. Someone from the Cooperative said, “I have not heard of anyone who has woven these for four people because it takes time and effort.”

Uza wove a pink kimono for Rie Nakayoshi, who was her first grandchild, thinking, “I can weave a kimono, and I want a cute girl to wear it.” Then, Uza wanted to give kimono to her next grandchildren as well. So, she made one for Erina Kawamitsu (27 years old) and one for Rurika Fukuchi (25 years old). In 2014 when her fourth granddaughter, Shion Uza, was about to reach her coming-of-age, Uza suffered a stroke and was hospitalized for three months.

“I am sorry, but I cannot move the left side of my body,” Uza told Shion, letting her granddaughter know that she could not weave. Shion was sad but accepted the situation. However, Uza thought, “I cannot just skip her kimono, so I will do rehabilitation and try.” It took about half a year and was completed last January.

Shion said, “It is the absolute best present in the whole world, and I feel nothing but happiness and gratitude.” So, she planned for a commemorative photo to celebrate Uza’s birthday.

Uza looked at the picture and said, “I was very happy, and I was surprised that I really did everything.” After her first daughter passed away seven years ago, Uza was depressed. She said, “I was able to survive because I have woven through difficult times; I am supported by weaving.” Uza continues to weave today.

(English translation by T&CT and Megumi Chibana)

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