Broadcast on June 9, 2016
Available until March 31, 2029
The attushi is the traditional coat of the indigenous Ainu people who live in northern Japan. The Tokyo National Museum keeps a collection of attushi gathered in the 19th century. The Ainu once traded across a wide area from Hokkaido into the Russian Far East and developed a distinctive culture. The attushi, used as both everyday wear and for special occasions, remain fitting symbols of the Ainu culture. The fabric is made from wood fibres. In shape, they resemble the Japanese kimono but the eye is caught by the flowing, embroidered Ainu patterns on the deep blue borders. The thread making, weaving and embroidery were chiefly handicrafts performed by women. The commitment to preserving Ainu culture is growing stronger again today and women still make attushi in the traditional way.