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Japan Photo Journal: Textiles lined up for bleaching on sunny snowfield in Niigata Pref.

(Yukio Itahana)

Pieces of hemp fabric, such as high quality "Echigo-jofu," are lined up in a row during an event to spread out fabric on a snowfield and expose them to the sun to remove color contamination in Minamiuonuma, Niigata Prefecture, on March 7, 2021. The bleaching process is performed while monitoring weather conditions. Kiyoshi Nakajima, 85, of Nakadaya textile store in Shiozawa, Minamiuonuma, laid out the fabrics with his family. The textiles are placed on the snow on a sunny morning, and the warm spring sunshine melts the snow which washes out the stains. Katsuyoshi Masuda, 71, who came from Toyama Prefecture to observe the work, said, "I could feel the passion to keep the tradition alive and the effort to make things. This is the first time I've seen it, and it's amazing." Nakajima said, "We have enough snow this year, so we can continue our work for a long time. I want to preserve the tradition and pass it on to my successors."

    (Japanese original by Yukio Itahana)

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