Hirosaki Kogin Institute Co., Ltd

Mr. Sadaharu Narita, President of the Hirosaki Kogin Institute since 1982. Mr. Sadaharu Narita, President of the Hirosaki Kogin Institute since 1982.

The Hirosaki Kogin Institute Co., Ltd. is a Japanese institute dedicated to research and the presentation of kogin zashi. Kogin zashi (or briefly: kogin) is a form of counted thread embroidery, originally associated with the northern part of Honshu Island, Japan.

The Hirosaki Kogin Institute was established in 1942, initially with the name of Hirosaki Homespun LLC, as part of the NPO Kimura Industry Institute (est. 1932). It was set up to provide guidance and instructions to the newly developed local wool industry. Shortly afterwards Soetsu Yanagi (1889-1961), the founder of the Japanese Mingei (Folk Crafts) movement, praised kogin zashi as one of the best local crafts and suggested that the firm should make a special effort to carry out research about kogin zashi and to preserve traditional examples of this craft.

The president of the firm, Yokoshima Naomichi, and his wife started to collect kogin zashi clothes from many villages and documented the patterns by drawing lines on graphic paper and then stitching them. They recorded over 600 patterns. Their research was later published as Tsugaru Kogin (1974). In 1962 they changed the institute’s name to the Hirosaki Kogin Institute in order to focus on kogin studies and to promote local businesses by making and selling kogin zashi.

At the beginning of the twenty-first century, the institute continues its key position of promoting kogin zashi through new products designed to appeal to urban consumers. In 2013 the Institute published Tsugaru Kogin–Zashi, Technique and Patterns, which expands upon the 1974 book.


Digital source of illustration (retrieved 28 June 2016).


Last modified on Saturday, 01 October 2016 16:34