*NOTICE: Due to concern over the spread of coronavirus, the museum is closed to visitors until further notice. For details, see here.*
Kataezome is a traditional Japanese method of dyeing fabric, one that fascinates people all over the world. Even if you have little interest in traditional crafts, you’ve definitely seen the kataezome technique used on kimono or textiles. The works of Keisuke Serizawa are true masterpieces of kataezome. In fact, he was designated a Living National Treasure by the national government in honor of his kataezome work. You can see his famous designs here in Sendai, at a museum run by Tohoku Fukushi University and conveniently located next to Sendai Station.
The museum displays a wide range of Serizawa’s work: kimono, textile accessories (like furoshiki and noren), interior design pieces, and paintings. Serizawa’s vivid, colorful designs, despite being inspired by traditional craft, look surprisingly modern. Maybe this is because Keisuke Serizawa found inspiration in many places and brilliantly combined the new with the old. That’s a practice all of us could benefit from, and you have a chance to learn how right here at this museum!
The museum also offers rotating special exhibitions throughout the year. During these special exhibitions, crafting workshops related to the art on display are offered, teaching participants how to make their own uchiwa fans, kataezome-dyed postcards, and more. The workshops are beginner-friendly and accessible enough even for children to enjoy.
For those who don’t have time for a workshop, I recommend checking out the museum shop. My first visit there resulted in a massive purchase of handkerchiefs, postcards and other goods, later given to family as gifts. It’s a good place to buy souvenirs for others as well as yourself!