WHAT'S YOUR CONNECTION?: Japanese Grass Mats *RERUN
This time, we answer a question from carpet designer Abdelilah Boubchir, a resident of Algeria, who wants to know about Japanese carpet making and the history. Our reporter is Karima Elsamny, an Arabic broadcast announcer from Egypt. In Okayama Prefecture's Kurashiki area, local Igusa rush grass is used to produce Hanagoza mats and Igusa carpets called Kurashiki Dantsu. Both were once exported overseas. Made of dyed Igusa rush grass woven into patterns, Hanagoza mats were especially popular. Igusa can absorb moisture and thus be used in hot, humid Japanese summers. We explore the appeal of rugs and carpets designed for the climate of Japan.
Hanagoza mats woven from Igusa rush grass have long been produced in Okayama. A beautiful pattern is created by weaving the dyed Igusa. Mosque prints were used for prayer rugs in the Middle East and beach prints for rugs intended for Hawaii.
Tatami mats are representative of Japan. The heart of the Igusa is spongy and absorbent, making it comfortable and dry even during hot, humid summers.
Yuichi Takiyama is the only craftsman who weaves the Kurashiki Dantsu carpets.
Kurashiki Dantsu originated in Kurashiki. Before WWII, they were exported overseas. They are still popular throughout Japan.