Japanese Natural Dyes and Natural Remedies:
Talk and Demonstration by SUGIMOTO Kakuro and Tetsuo
Japan House London’s current exhibition ‘Living Colours’ tells the story of the Yoshioka Dyeing Workshop in Japan which creates its organic dyes using natural ingredients found in the roots, leaves, barks, fruits and petals of a variety of trees and plants including shikon (Purple Gromwell root) and kihada (bark of the Amur cork tree).
The properties of these versatile ingredients however, extend beyond textile dyeing. They also play an important role in kanpo: the study and practice of natural remedies which has developed in Japan since its introduction from China over a thousand years ago, and which is growing in popularity among environmentally and health conscious young people in Japan today.
Since 1950, the Sugimoto Pharmacy, based in Kamakura, Japan, has offered advice and guidance on integrating Japanese herbs and herbalism into contemporary lifestyles, introducing their various usages from natural remedies to food and drink and bath salts.
In this event, the pharmacy’s 3rd-generation, brothers SUGIMOTO Kakuro and Tetsuo, explore the history and current applications of herbalism in Japan, demonstrating how to make a soothing skin balm from purple shikon, a root which is also the main ingredient for the highly prized murasaki purple dye featured in the Living Colours exhibition.
Shining a spotlight on Japanese natural textile dyeing techniques and ingredients, ‘Living Colours: Kasane – the Language of Japanese Colour Combinations’ is on display in the Gallery at Japan House from 5 April to 19 May 2019.
About the Sugimoto Pharmacy
Founded in 1950 as a pharmacy for natural remedies in the downtown area of the Japanese city of Kamakura, 40 minutes by train from Tokyo, the Sugimoto Pharmacy offers personalised advice on herbal medicines and healthy living matched to each customer’s unique lifestyle and constitution. Born in 1982, Sugimoto Kakuro is the third-generation head of the Sugimoto Pharmacy. He carries out the activities of the pharmacy with his younger brother Tetsuo.