The History of Aoyagi and Tokamachi

The Tokamachi region produces around 130,000 kimono each year.
80% of these are categorized as atozome: kimono where the fabric is woven before dyeing such as furisode, tomosode and houmongi.
20% are sakizome: kimono where the threads are dyed before they are woven such as tsumugi and kasuri.
Here is a look at the evolution of Aoyagi starting from the present day.

See Our History by Era

Since initiating in-house production
(After 1981)

  • The History of Aoyagi
  • The History of Tokamachi

2018(Heisei 30)

Aoyagi opens its factory to the public

2017(Heisei 29)

Aoyagi presents furisode and houmongi kimonos to 4-time consecutive Olympic gold medalist, Kaori Icho

The 60th Tokamachi Snow Festival Carnival is held
(The Tokamachi Textile Association has played a major role in its organization since 1977)

2016(Heisei 28)

Aoyagi’s second president is appointed as chairman of the Tokamachi Tourist Association

2015(Heisei 27)

Aoyagi unveils its premium brand, Kiwamibi

2011(Heisei 23)

Tokamachi holds the first “Kimono no Machi, Tokamachi” public seminar

2009(Heisei 21)

Aoyagi’s shibori furisode kimono is awarded the Regional Bureau of Economy, Trade and Industry Director’s Prize

Tokamachi develops a citywide program to teach 1st grade junior high school students about kimono

2008(Heisei 20)

Aoyagi’s Wakamatsu Kourinha Zu kimono
is awarded The Small and Medium Enterprise Agency Prize

2007(Heisei 19)

Aoyagi’s Fukugen Kourin Matsushima Zu kimono
is awarded the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry’s Prize

2005(Heisei 17)

Tokamachi companies collaborate on the Kuremachisu kimono brand as part of a prefectural industrial promotion plan

Exhibition of Kuremachisu kimono

2004(Heisei 16)

An exhibition of Hyakka kimono, the inspiration for Aoyagi’s Taiki Hyakka brand, is held

Tokamachi Textile Association Youth Group participate in an exhibition of kimono in Turin, Italy

2003(Heisei 15)

Aoyagi’s shibori furisode kimono is awarded the Niigata Governor’s Prize

Aoyagi’s second president is appointed as chairman of the Tokamachi Textiles Association

1999(Heisei 11)

Aoyagi’s tsumugi shibori houmongi kimono is awarded for its excellence

1997(Heisei 9)

Marking 25 years of shibori hana oke kimono, Aoyagi develops its new and original Taiki Hyakka kimono brand

1994(Heisei 6)

Aoyagi’s tashoku okezome shibori houmongi kimono is awarded for its excellence

1992(Heisei 4)

The company is renamed to Aoyagi Co., Ltd

1991(Heisei 3)

Aoyagi’s okezome dyed outerwear is awarded for its excellence

1990(Heisei 2)

Aoyagi establishes a branch in Kyoto

Aoyagi’s oke-shibori furisode kimono is awarded the Small Business Association Director’s Prize

1987(Showa 62)

Aoyagi’s first president is honored with a Yellow Ribbon recognizing his contribution to the industry

1986(Showa 61)

Aoyagi’s tashoku okezome shibori houmongi kimono is awarded for its excellence

1983(Showa 58)

The 1st national summit for kimono is held at the newly opened Cross 10 Center for Industrial Promotion in Tokamachi. The event is attended by over 300 leading figures from the kimono world

1982(Showa 57)

Aoyagi’s fushikaden kimono is awarded the Minister for International Trade and Industry’s Prize

Tokamachi Akashi-chijimi and Tokamachi-kasuri fabrics are designated as traditional crafts under the Promotion of the Traditional Craft Industries Act

1981(Showa 56)

Aoyagi’s second president is appointed to the position

Aoyagi begins to operate with in-house start to finish production

Tokamachi decides the first ever kimono tanjoiro

From our founding to the start of in-house production
(1911 to 1980)

  • The History of Aoyagi
  • The History of Tokamachi

1980(Showa 55)

Aoyagi develops techniques to inetgrate yuzen dyeing, gold foils and embroidery processes with okezome and shibori dyeing

1979(Showa 54)

Aoyagi’s oke-shibori coat is awarded the Minister for International Trade and Industry’s Prize

1977(Showa 52)

Aoyagi’s first president is appointed as chairman of the Tokamachi Textiles Association

1956(Showa 31)

The 1st Tokamachi Snow Festival Carnival is held

1952(Showa 27)

Aoyagi Orimono Co., Ltd. is founded

Aoyagi’s work is awarded numerous awards including Minister’s Prizes at a competition

1950(Showa 25)

The 1st Tokamachi Snow Festival is held

1949(Showa 24)

The first post-war textile exhibition is held

1948(Showa 23)

Aoyagi establishes as a weaver

1938(Showa 13)

Aoyagi establishes as an independent dyer

Aoyagi attracts attention as the first to yuzen dye in Tokamachi, a region which until then had only produced sakizome kimono

1935(Showa 10)

Aoyagi visits Tokamachi for the first time and finds work at a local textile manufacturer while developing his own dyeing techniques; his bokashizome is a big hit.

The Tokamachi Association of Textile Manufacturers is founded

1934(Showa 9)

Improvements to waterproofing makes Akashi-chijimi the first choice in luxury summer kimono

1930(Showa 5)

Aoyagi completes its long-awaited winter kimono made from patterned white silk

1928(Showa 3)

Aoyagi studies yuzen dyeing techniques while working at a dye house in Niigata City for 7 years

1925(Taisho 14)

The 1st exhibition of winter kimono is held

1921(Taisho 10)

Development of omeshi crepe fabric

1911(Meiji 44)

Aoyagi’s first president, Taiki Aoyagi, is born in Kurosaki Village, Niigata City

1910(Meiji 43)

The first power loom is installed in Tokamachi

Before Aoyagi Co., Ltd
(Before 1910)

1899(Meiji 32)

The Tokamachi Textile Association is founded

1887(Meiji 20)

Zenjiro Sato develops Akashi-chijimi silk crepe

1829(Bunsei 12)

Mojuro Miyamoto brings silk crepe fabrics and the takahata loom to Tokamachi

1805(Bunka 2)

Documents are submitted to the Aizu government office by 19 Tokamachi village heads that state over 80% of households in Tokamachi were weaving Echigo-chijimi at the time

1688(Genroku period)

Echigo-chijimi is selected as the official fabric for the shogunate’s ceremonial kimono

1573(Tensho period)

Kenshin Uesugi calls for increased ramie cultivation

1559(Eiroku 2)

Kenshin Uesugi presents Emperor Ogimachi with Echigo crepe fabrics

1380(Tenju 6)

The Muromachi shogunate selects Echigo crepe as its official fabric for ceremonial kimono

1192(Kenkyu 3)

Minamoto no Yoritomo presents an imperial envoy with 1000 bolts of Echigo crepe fabric

905(Heian period)

Fujiwara no Tadahira purchases 1000 bolts of Echigo crepe fabric

753(Nara period)

Ramie crepe fabrics are presented as tribute to the imperial Shosoin treasure house

1500 years ago(Kofun period middle stage)

A lifestyle of rice cultivation and textile weaving takes hold in the Tokamachi region