Written on May 13, 2013
This is a very sashiko stitched, indigo dyed noragi or work coat which was made in Akita prefecture.
Sashiko stitching covers this entire garment. Above we see a field of squares. These represent a grain measure, a wooden box called a masu.
Seen below at the top of the photo is a border stitched in the kaki no hana or persimmon flower pattern.
The quality of the elaborate stitching on this work coat is superb. The stitching is done in a pale blue cotton thread, which could have been dyed blue before it was stitched onto the coat. Or, perhaps, the entire coat was over-dyed in indigo and the once-white sashiko stitched turned blue from this second immersion in a dye bath.
The front of the noragi, seen below, shows patches, as does the back of the coat. The patches applied to the shoulder areas are for reinforcement against wear.
What can also be seen on the front of the coat is that the elaborate masu-designed stitching of the back of the coat is replaced by a simpler pattern of horizontal lines
Still, the kaki no hana or persimmon flower pattern is still present at the shoulder area. Since this decorative design is also densely stitched, it serves to reinforce this area.
The jacket measures 31 1/2″ x 38″ or 80 cm x 96.5 cm and it probably was made in the first quarter or first half of the twentieth century.