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Photo Journal: Cool cloth


Pieces of dyed cloth flutter in the wind as they dry at the century-old dye house "Nakagawa sen kojo" in Utsunomiya, Tochigi Prefecture, in this recent photo. In preparation for summer, when people often wear yukata, craftsmen dye each piece of cloth by hand in a traditional way, which makes them breathable and water absorbent. While some 2,000 pieces of cloth, such as hand towels or yukata, used to be dyed a day at the house in the postwar era, the number of dyed cloth now has decreased to about 10 percent of its peak due to competition from cheaper, imported printed cloth. Director of the dye house Fumi Nakagawa, 67, commented, "People can feel comfortable in the cloth, which is different from printed material." (Mainichi)

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