“TOKYO-ZOME” (東京染め) is a term describing dyed goods originated in the basin of KANDA River in TOKYO which used to contain great volume of pure water when the TOKYO was called “EDO”.

KIMONOs with the patterns like “EDO-KOMON” (江戸小紋: EDO’s small pattern), “TOKYO-MUJI-ZOME” (東京無地染め: plainly dyed goods of TOKYO) and “EDO-SARASA” (江戸更紗: EDO’s chintz) are said to be most favorite KIMONOs by EDOKKO (EDO people) for its chic elegance and taste.

TOKYO became a center of commerce and logistics in Japan in EDO Period where DAIMYŌs (feudal lords) were obliged to visit then Shogunate of TOKUGAWA based in TOKYO regularly.



Accordingly, in the current NIHONBASHI area, Japanese representative KIMONO merchants gathered to sell their products to those DAIMYŌs ordering its textile to the dyeing shops located around the mentioned KANDA River.

This is how the TOKYO-ZOME happened in this area.

As explained in the past article, EDO-KOMON is a KIMONO pattern used in SAMRAI’s uniform “KAMISHIMO

The shogun family and each DAIMYŌ had their original design in it as a symbol.



For example, the pattern of the shogun family is “OMESHI-JU” (御召十).





For most influential MAEDA family (feudal load of KAGA Domain) and SHIMAZU family (feudal load of SATSUMA Domain), it is KIKU-BISHI” (菊菱) and “ŌARARE” (大小霰) for each.



These patterns consist, in general, original small white motifs scattered over a roll of fabric and are still used now as traditional EDO-KOMON patterns in KIMONO.



It looks like a plain one-color fabric from distance but you can see it’s fully stuffed by original small motifs when looking at closely.
This trait is coming from the humble but stylish taste of SAMURAI during EDO Period and became popular among wide variety of people regardless of its class or generation since then.

From next time, I will discover other TOKYO-ZOME: “TOKYO-MUJI-ZOME” and “EDO-SARASA”.