History of Yaeyama Minsah

Yaeyama Minsah is a fabric made of cotton with a plain weave, produced in Taketomi Town and Ishigaki City. It is characterized by five-and-four square Kasuri patterns arranged alternatively, imbued with the hopes it lasts “forever for eternity.”

It originally comes from the indigo-colored Minsau obi belt, which a woman would give to the man that she loved. This belt was said to be the origin of Yaeyama Minsah which existed in Taketomi Island until recently.

There are records of cotton production and trade during the 17th and 18th century in the Ryukyu Dynasty, though specifics are unknown. Since cotton is supposed to have originated in the Indus, it is assumed that these textiles came from there.

The islands extend outward from Kagoshima’s southernmost point into Taiwan, the Philippines, and the Indonesian archipelago. The history of the Kingdom of Ryukyu is known as the Great Trading Age, which lasted from the 14th to the middle of the 16th century and was based on relations with many countries. 

By introducing or being affected by different techniques, materials, colors, and designs from Japan, China, Korea, and other nations to the South, the textile dyeing and weaving industry in Okinawa has created a distinctive world suitable for the climate and sensibility of the people of Okinawa. Among the many crafts, its influence can certainly be found in the field of dyeing and weaving.

The main products can be roughly divided into obi belts and processed products. In addition, a wide range of clothing and interior decor products perfect for modern life are also manufactured.

Characteristics of Yaeyama Minsah

Minsah-ori characterized by five-and-four square Kasuri patterns arranged alternatively is meant to convey the meaning of “forever for eternity.”