Japanese Fishermen’s Coats from Awaji Island

sashiko no donza

Japanese Fishermen's Coats from Awaji Island

I recently purchased a book “Japanese Fishermen’s Coat from Awaji Island”. This book has a collection of Sashiko no Donza (quilted and embroidered coats) that truly honors the sweat, tears and blood from those men who worked endlessly for long hours in fishing industry to support their families. Sashiko stitched coats were known to be the necessity for farmers in northern part of Japan where the coldness of the winter is so severe. Intensely stitched coat gave warms and protection to the farmers. But fishermen and sailors in southern part of Japan wore Sashiko coats as well.
Awaji Island is the largest of the nearly three hundred islands in Japan’s Island Sea – thirty miles long and only thirteen miles across at its widest point. Located so close to Osaka, the window of trading, Awaji was known for its fishing, trading and even farming community to bring a decent wealth to the islanders. No one really knows when Sashiko no Donza became common in the region, but they were certainly widely used in the late Edo period (17th century).

sashiko no donza

Sashiko No Donza

This book contributes the study of Japanese textiles and the cultural history of the villages, which produced one of the mingei textiles in sashiko. The pictures of Sashiko no Donza in this book are outstanding quality. You can see the stitches in close details. Those coats worked as protection to the fishermen. You also feel the lives of women who mended and stitched by using the art of Sashiko to hold together layers of fabrics or pieces of cloth that were taken from other garments. All the colors consist in Indigo tones of blues.
This is not a Sashiko how to type of book, but to learn the factors of Sashiko (time, economy, place and cultural background) that greatly contributed to the birth of this stitching art in this region of Japan.

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