|Did you know that Aizome (Ai) is a natural dye which comes from the leaves of the Japanese indigo plant? This plant lives for only one year, and cultivation of this plant species has been centered in Tokushima Prefecture on the island of Shikoku, Japan for more than a thousand years.
As early as the fifth century, the planting of Japanese indigo and the art of fabric dyeing using the Ai method was brought to Japan from India and the Silk Road.
Huge plantations of Ai were established in Tokushima Prefecture and this type of unique fabric art became known as Awa Ai. This continued through the Edo period and later, the Meiji period when artificial Ai was developed. Since then, cultivation and production of natural, plant based Awa Ai has been in decline.
These works of art were painstakingly created using the Japanese traditional technique of natural Awa Ai. We consider this way, the real Ai dyeing.