It all started in the little museum of Tokyo during the early years of the twentieth century. While there were not too many people around to appreciate some of the pieces that are currently displayed, there stood a man who looked to be mesmerised by a piece of cloth that somehow had an unearthly quality to it. There was a unique dying method which made the fabric so beautiful, but it was an old art that had been lost to time. While it would take some time for Itchiku Kubota to make sense of what he had felt during that fateful day, it would culminate in a collection that has garnered the praise of the whole world.
The dying method that was used on that particular piece of cloth was known as Tsujigahana, and after being drafted into the war and finally getting his life back in order, Itchiku Kubota would spend his lifetime trying to replicate Tsujigahana. After many years of trial and error, he had finally succeeded in creating his own style, though it’s more of a modern homage than the actual method itself.
The collection today
The result of his hard work is a series of masterful kimono works known today as the Kubota Collection. It retains the same surreal yet stunningly beautiful dying process that Tsujigahana was known for – but it was different enough that it was Itchiku’s personal style. In fact, he eventually named the method the Itchiku Tsujigahana. Unfortunately, he passed away before he could complete the series of works he had planned, though the Kubota Collection stands proudly, and is being toured around the world thanks to organisations such as the International Chodiev Foundation.
What it means to the world
While indeed easier said than accomplished, cultural appreciation and the sharing of experiences can allow different countries to get to know each other. Even those whose cultures are at odds can still get along if they merely respect each other’s way of life. The Kubota Collection has such fantastic pieces of art that the world has taken notice, and many people travel from all walks of life to see the collection in person. This mutual appreciation has done much to improve Japan’s standing in the eyes of those who haven’t had the chance to experience what the country has to offer.
To conclude, it can’t be said for sure if Itchiku Kubota intended for his collection to be praised throughout the world. After all, he spent most of his life trying to recreate Tsujigahana, not for fame, but to simply allow something so beautiful to exist once again. He was fortunate enough to live through the period where the Kubota collection was garnering worldwide renown, though in his mind he probably still wanted to improve on Itchiku Tsujigahana. That said, it can’t be understated just how much of an impact this humble man’s creations have had on Japan’s overall standing.