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A Beautifully Sashiko Stitched Boro Noragi: Akita Prefecture

Written on May 13, 2013

BoroJacketShonai3This is a very sashiko stitched, indigo dyed noragi or work coat which was made in Akita prefecture.

BoroJacketShonai3aSashiko stitching covers this entire garment.  Above we see a field of squares.  These represent a grain measure, a wooden box called a masu.

BoroJacketShonai3bSeen below at the top of the photo is a border stitched in the kaki no hana or persimmon flower pattern.


BoroJacketShonai3dThe 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.

BoroJacketShonai3eThe 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.

BoroJacketShonai3fWhat 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

BoroJacketShonai3gStill, 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.

BoroJacketShonai3h 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.




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  1. Comment by Cynthia:

    Ohhh…. this is a beautiful noragi – just exquisite. Thank you for sharing this.

    May 14, 2013 @ 5:30 am

  2. Comment by Susan Briscoe:

    The horizontal lines on the front look like they are machine stitched, which would account for the breaks in the lines. Very interesting! I have one noragi in my collection with similar machine stitching, sashiko style, which came from Akita Prefecture. Lovely masuzashi on the back. I wonder if this was a remake from two separate garments?

    May 14, 2013 @ 6:27 am

  3. Comment by Carol Ann Eades:

    Delightful piece and so appreciated – thank you – makes my fingers itch to stitch

    June 3, 2013 @ 3:23 am

  4. Comment by Akio MItsuno:

    Hi Srisan
    This Sasiko is Sasiko of one of Akita region. Cloth is thinner than Sasiko of Shonai, and the ways of the stitch are different. There is the difference in number of threads finger way.


    June 14, 2013 @ 12:13 am

  5. Comment by Stephen:

    Thank you, Mitsuno san. I appreciate your clarification!

    June 14, 2013 @ 7:28 am