Kozo Yada is the third generation of traditional craftsman specialized in cutting paper patterns for dyeing kimono. The technique is called “katabori”, cutting out a design from a special paper (“katagami”), treated with astringent persimmon juice, made with three sheets of paper pasted together. His patterns are highly appreciated and continuously used in various renowned Kimono producers. In 2011, Yada was awarded as a Tokyo Meister for his outstanding skill and craftsmanship.

The katabori is an art of cutting. There are several techniques for cutting paper pattern for kimono, and, “hikibori” is the one traditionally used in Tokyo. Hikibori cuts the paper by pulling the chisel. It gives a dynamic line which resonates with the stylishness of Edo spirit, a culture cultivated in the Edo era: more than 250 years of Tokugawa shogunate.

Patterns are precise in shape and delicate in design. Each cutting has to be controlled in 1mm or less. You need to be focused, patient,  and decisive at the same time. Yada even makes his own chisel to control his subtle move.

The katabori is now appreciated as an art piece as well. It is adopted in many products other than kimono. One of the successful cases of collaboration is Katagami Metal, a metal hand mirror made by Asakawa Metal Works with Yada’s pattern on the back, which won the Excellence Award at the Eighth Tokyo Traditional Crafts Challenge.

Teaching for more than 20 years in a class, Yada is also passionate to transfer his skill and technique to the next generation.

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