Kitai – Tsumami Zaiku (Decorative Charms)

Beauty of Maiko Culture Symbol

Tsumami Kanzashi(decorative hair pins) worn by Maiko and Geisha in Kyoto portrays the transition of the four seasons (spring, summer, autumn, winter) , as it reflects the idea of teahouses where patrons are entertained by Geisha. These amusements and delightfulness are the form of traditional Japanese hospitality enjoyed by patrons. Today, Kitai is making the significant contribution to Kanzashi ateliers by developing the craftsmen despite its continuous decline.

(center)Hidemasa Kitai – CEO of Kitai Co. Ltd.
(left) Kaori Kitai – Manager of Kitai Co. Ltd.
(right) Ai Yasumoto – Artist of Kitai Co. Ltd.
Kitai CO., LTD.
Kitai CO., LTD. was initially established in 1946 as a thread shop based in Nishijin, Kyoto. Afterwards, they expanded their business field to Tsumami Kanzashi. They are strongly committed to the fabric and the colors that they have exclusive workshops for both fabrics and dyeing. Fabrics are from Kyotango also known as Shoken-rinzu. Full customized dyeing is done by highly skilled artisans in Kyoto.

Tsumami Zaiku (Decorative Charms)

“Tsumami” means “pinch”. Tsumami Zaiku is one of Japanese traditional crafts that is mainly used for Kanzashi (decorative hairpin worn by Maiko and Geisha). It is made by pinching and folding the silky fabric called Habutae with tweezers. The preparation includes dyeing, gluing cutting before the pinching process. These preparation processes are renown to be very tedious, and it requires long time. The craftsmen ensure the perfection of Tsumami Zaiku with their great patience and professional skillsets.

  • The petals are crafted with square-cut fabric that has been dyed and glued.

  • Petals are made by folding and pinching fabrics with alternating two different colors by tweezer. Then, it is placed on a gluing table for the next step.

  • The base root of the petal is round-shape and made of colored Japanese paper also known as “washi”. Each petal are placed on this base root with no gap.

  • Kanzashi plays an important role in Maiko’s costume and it has been inherited over the generation. It is designed to sustain the longer usage along with its separable function. Kanzashi is made of four major components: Washi (Japanese Paper), Habutae (soft silk), thread and wire. It can be separated and recreated into three different pins by carefully alternate each petal again with high craftmanship.