Indigo Artisan: Toshiharu Furusho
Tokushima indigo, the color of the samurai
Residing in Tokushima city, Toshiharu Furusho uses the traditional dyeing method called, ‘chusen’, using all-natural indigo. I first met him 3 years before I started Acamal. Mr. Furusho is the only person in Japan who uses the ‘chosen' method, using natural indigo, and is the 6th generation of the Furusho Indigo Dye Factory, founded in the Meiji Period.
In this traditional dyeing method, wood ash is used in a particular way instead of chemicals to produce the dye. Although many other places use chemicals to produce the dye more quickly and to achieve a deeper color, Mr. Furusho uses no chemicals whatsoever. Fabric that is dyed with indigo is 30% stronger, whereas fabric that is dyed with chemical dye is 10% weaker - a 40% difference in strength between these two methods. Also, the property of indigo dye being an insect repellant led to such dye being used for clothing. In addition to its exquisite beauty, indigo can boast of such practical properties as being antimicrobial and even reducing skin irritation. The first time I joined Mr. Furusho in the dyeing process, it was the year before the big Tohoku Disaster. The fabric we dyed then still retains its excellent indigo color. In Acamal, we use this ‘samurai blue’ to dye our various wood and leather products.