Weave the Future from Tradition

Matsui Silk Weaving Co., Ltd. (Johana, Nanto-city, Toyama Prefecture)



Did you know? Johana 城端 in Nato City 南砺市, Toyama Pref. 富山県 flourished as a place to produce silk fabrics. The origins of Johana's silk fabrics are said to have been started in the late Sengoku era about 430 years ago from now. In the Edo period silk fabric woven in Johana and Komatsu was traded as "Kaga silk". In the record of 1693 (Genroku 6-nen), there were 375 out of 689 households of Johana, more than half houses were involved in silk fabrics. Matsui Silk Weaving Co., Ltd. 株式会社松井機業 founded in 1877 (Meiji 10-nen) is currently one of the last two companies to do silk weaving at Johana.


The company manufactures interior items and narrow width fabrics using ‘Shike’ Silk.

Usually, one silkworm makes one cocoon and turn it into raw silk. However, rarely two silkworms make one cocoon, and the one weave using the yarn from this cocoon (Tama-mayu) as weft is ‘Shike’ silk. The yarns exhaled by two silkworms are intertwined complicatedly to create a yarn with a unique knot, but this rare yarn that is made only by chance is called ‘Tama-ito’ yarn.



Unlike ordinary silk, ‘Tama-ito’ yarn which is a raw material of ‘Shike’ silk is not readily available in Japan. About 25 years ago, the company also bought ‘Tama-ito’ yarn for ‘Shike’ silk from Toyohashi City, Aichi Prefecture. However, when the company gone out of business, now Matsui Silk Weaving Co., Ltd. uses ‘Tama-ito’ yarn imported from a Brazilian company that also deals with Hermes.


Domestic yarns do not match quality and cocoon production is rapidly decreasing, as the production of cocoon made by two silkworms is smaller. It is a coincidence product. Although heart-shaped ‘Tama’ cocoon can occur very rarely, basically it cannot be made artificially. Of Brazilian cocoon production, ‘Tama’ cocoon has only 3%.


In dealing with such rare materials, "aging" of looms is also an element of concern. With the latest weaving machines, the yarn is continuously cut off at the speed of weaving. Furthermore, the texture also changes. Therefore, it can only be woven by the old loom of the 1960s. Because ‘Shike’ silk fabric is as thin as gauze, elbows and knees are easy to get torn. It is unsuitable for apparel products, but the company is challenging other areas.




Although it is difficult to manufacture clothing items, the company launched a new product band ‘JOHANAS’ for colorful stalls and accessories using ‘Shike’ silk. For details, please visit their website: http://www.shikesilk.com/

If you want to travel around Johana and Nanto city area, please contact us. We will make a plan that’s perfect for you.


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