Pondering ways to make use of the unique, brush-painted Yuzen dyeing technique, the current president Shigeo Okajima started to produce silk fashion accessories in 1990 and launched new brands. He works actively on not only opening exhibitions like "Consealed Dyeing -Beauty of Haura-" but also on preserving traditional Asian cultural industries and promoting art design exchanges between the East and West.
Open-air tea ceremony hosted by second president Jusuke Okajima.
Kyo Yuzen exhibition held at Maruyama Park.
Prewar workshop, in the middle of the mushi (steaming) testing.
Yuzen, characterised by its elegant patterns that are hand painted and dyed, is a unique dyeing technique Kyoto is proud of. It is said that Yuzen was invented in late 17th century and brought to fruition by a fan painter Yuzensai Miyazaki, who was living in Gion, Kyoto.
Utilising gorgeous colouring, this innovative dyeing is said to have become so popular that it put many other kinds of dyeing in the shade. Yuzen dyeing is distinctive in that technologically any patterns and designs can be done as one fancies, and it doesn't damage the soft texture of the silk in the process of dyeing. The Technique called bokashi (colour gradation) is also peculiar to this dyeing method, and it expresses a sense of Japanese Beauty that embodies depth and movement that beholders are drawn into.
It's not too much to say that Kyo Yuzen is the most beautiful form of dyeing in the world. It lives with us, appreciated for its gorgeousness and richness as well as delicateness and profoundness.
In 1855, after completing his study in dyeing processing, the company founder Usaburo Okajima taught at Kyoto City School of Arts (now Kyoto City University of Arts) and mastered the essence of the Japanese arts. His eldest son, Jusuke Okajima, the second president of the company, conducted a specialised business in dyeing and processing kimono linings. His superior skill was highly respected, and his reputation became widely known in the Yuzen industry of those day in Kyoto. Due to wars, the business was suspended, but it was expanded after the wars as a national factory of technical preservation. The third president received the first Kyoto Sangyokorosha (Person of Industrial Merits) award.
His eldest son, Shigeo Okajima, the current president, grasps the significance of Yuzen dyeing with an exceptional point of view. Not only does he propose kimono fashions to further develop the business as a long-established, high-class kimono-making company, but he also engages in a variety of production activities such as fashion accessories.
The OKAJIMA company strives to maintain the highest quality of their products by undertaking different methods and techniques. Some designs, for instance, are co-created by the company's exclusive design development staff and the laboratory (studio) colour development staff. The whole production process is done by hand by our artisans in Kyoto, Tokyo, Indonesia and Milan.
In addition the president Shigeo Okajima considers it important to preserve traditional Asian handicrafts as well as to promote and develop the interchange of Western and Eastern arts and designs. In Kyoto he refurbished his company office, housed in a traditional Japanese style building, and put up a cultural gallery called "Roji", which people can use for a variety of events and exhibitions. In Indonesia he supports Batik preservation.
Using the technique of Yuzen, he aspires to further develop the traditional dyeing industry and also to create fashionable items that are appreciated by modern people.
Published the book "Japanese Stylishness and Dandyism -HAURA- OKAJIMA Collection" through Hachette Fujingaho (now Hearst Fujingaho).
Exhibited at Maison & Objet Paris. Received orderds from Liberty in London and Lane Crawford in Hong Kong.
Exhibited at Maison & Objet held at the Paris Nord Villepinte.
Participated in the JAPAN Brand Exhibition held at Mitsukoshi Paris.July
Opened a new shop/show room at Karasuma Takoyakushi, Kyoto.