Kakishibu:
Persimmon Tannin Dye

 

 "Kakishibu" is a traditional Japanese dye/paint of deep amber color which comes from unripe persimmons that have been fermented and aged for more than 2 years. Recently, kakishibu has been recognized again as a great alternative by more people who are interested in nature and wellness because it has many natural, beneficial effects such as an insect deterrent and anti-molding effect for wood and cloth.

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The Versatility of Organic Dye Revived After Generations

 

"Kakishibu" is a traditional Japanese dye/paint of deep amber color which comes from unripe persimmons that have been fermented and aged for more than 2 years. This dye had been produced in many places throughout Japan dating back to the 13th century and used in many ways including coating farm equipment, fishing nets, a primer for Japanese lacquer work, stencil paper and the production process for Japanese sake.

柿 KAKI is a persimmon,
渋 SHIBU means astringent.

Onomichi in Hiroshima was once one of the three largest production areas of kakishibu and was called "Onomichi-shibu" which was widely traded in Japan. After World War II, demand in kakishibu decreased sharply due to the influence of Western culture and the increase in synthetic and petroleum products. Though the factories and manufacturers were closed down and gone, the trees that produce the persimmons still remain. Many of the trees which are over 100 years old still grow in the mountain areas surrounding Onomichi.

An entrepreneurial descendant of a persimmon farmer, "Onomichi Kakien" has revived this traditional dye while learning from nature and these surviving persimmons. Recently, kakishibu has been recognized again as a great alternative by more people who are interested in nature and wellness because it has many natural, beneficial effects such as an insect deterrent and anti-molding effect for wood and cloth. We believe Kakishibu is a wonderful dye that can be shared with the world and the new generation.

 
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EASY TO USE
Just apply directly or dilute with water! No fixer needed. Use water without metals or chlorine for the better result.

WATER BASED
No mess! You can clean your hands and brushes with water.

NURTURE
6 months for fermentation and more than 2 years for aging.

HEALTHY
Non-toxic, water resistant, antiseptic, insect repellent, mildew-proof.

ORGANIC
No additives! Instead of using chemical treatment to remove the fermentation scent, we use heat treatment to remove the bacteria and reduce the odor. The balsamic vinegar or food compost-like smell will start to disappear after a week.

BOTANICAL
Over time, the dyed color changes deeper by oxidation of tannin.

LONG-LASTING
You can preserve Kakishibu dye in a pack for years! Unopened Kakishibu can be saved even longer, and it will become a rich color as aging progress.

UPCYCLE
You can restore old items or make new items look vintage.

 
 

Using kakishibu dye

NOTE:

Start dyeing with lighter tone because the color gets darker in a month.

Avoid contact with iron until it dries. The contact area will react and turn black.

If Kakishibu dye changes to thicker or gel, soak the package in hot water.

If white colored sediment settles at the bottom of the package, just leave until the end. Do not mix. It is impurities generated during aging which does not affect dye. By filtering with a strainer or cheesecloth to remove it, you can use Kakishibu dye until the end.

After opening, it is best to remove as much air as possible from the package and close the cap tightly. Store in a cool, dark place.

 

How to Apply to Cloth - Dyeing


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  1. Prewash with a mild detergent to remove starch and dirt if needed.

  2. Soak cloth in water about 30 minutes before dyeing.

  3. Dilute the kakishibu with water which is 2 or 3 times the amount of kakishibu.

  4. There are two ways to apply kakishibu to cloth. Kakishibu can be applied directly with a brush, or the cloth can be soaked into kakishibu dye bath.

  5. Dry the cloth in the shade. Once it dried, hang in the sun to get darker color.

  6. If you prefer the wrinkle texture, you can squeeze the fabric while dyeing and wringing.

  7. Repeat the process of dyeing and drying until you reach the desired color.

  8. The scent of the kakishibu will be quite strong on thick fabric but disappears after it is completely dried.

  9. The texture becomes hard after drying, but softens it by washing for a few minutes in a machine.

 

How to Apply to Wood - Coating


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  1. Smooth the surface with sandpaper before applying kakishibu.

  2. Paint along the grain of wood in the same direction. Use a cloth to wipe the wood if the surface has bubbles.

  3. Paint thinly. Wait for dry to repeat applications until you reach your desired tone. Keep in mind that after one month the color will become darker.

 

How to Apply to Paper - Painting­


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Kakishibu can be applied to paper to stiffen or harden paper. In Japan, washi paper is cut into small pieces and pasted on two woven baskets to make a box. Kakishibu is then applied which hardens the paper and acts as a finish. This prevents the baskets from breaking easily.

  1. Applying kakishibu on dry paper follows the same directions as wood.

  2. Try pasting old papers, scraps, magazines, or old pictures on wood or a basket. Paste the paper with glue, then let it dry. Coat Kakishibu with a brush. Less than three coatings will better result.

  3. Applying kakishibu to a paper bag, a paper woven basket or any craft paper as well.