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Arai Hari 洗い張り- Kimono Washing

The process of kimono washing, known as arai hari 洗い張りin Japan, is very expensivem time consuming and difficult, it involves completely disassembling the garment into panels that are then washed separately. The fabric panels are fixed at one end by harite (stretching clamps) on a stake in the middle of a shallow river with gentle water flow in order to wash out accumulated dust and soil. 

The process of arai hari was featured in the famous movie "Memoirs of a Geisha"...

The laundry process serves also for a meticulous fabric inspection and repair, if needed, as well as even re-dyeing of the whole bolt. The drying of freshly washed kimono fabric also requires special equipment and skills. Fabrics for casual kimonos are carefully placed on wide wooden boards, thus straightening the weave, and left on the sun to dry without the need of ironing. However, finer fabrics, such as silk, should be stretched mid-air using harite and shinshi (stretchers) - the same equipment used for initial dyeing of the fabric.

This traditional method of washing kimono is carried out by skilled artisans of which relatively few remain...

 


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