【News】Colorful “kimigara” slippers made of corn husks gaining popularity (March 19, 2017)


Slippers of various colors and patterns are created from dent corn husks by women of Towada, Aomori Prefecture.

Slippers of various colors and patterns are created from dent corn husks by women of Towada, Aomori Prefecture.

Local women of Towada, Aomori Prefecture, gather in the off-season to braid slippers using corn husks.

Local women of Towada, Aomori Prefecture, gather in the off-season to braid slippers using corn husks.

Slippers made by women of farms in Aomori Prefecture using dried corn husks are recently becoming popular as they are colorful, light and do not become stuffy.

The slippers, named “kimigara” from an Aomori dialect “kimi” meaning corn and “kara” meaning husks, are the traditional craftwork handed down in Towada, Aomori, for women to work on during the off-season.

Husks of dent corn for feed are dried, and a group of 18 local women tear them and braid them into slippers. Skills are necessary to create slippers of same sizes entirely by hand, and one person can only make one pair of slippers a day.

The group makes about 100 pairs between January and May every year. The slippers, which are sold at places like local souvenir shops inside roadside rest areas, get sold out before the Bon holidays in

A woman shapes a slipper using a wooden mold and a rolling pin.

A woman shapes a slipper using a wooden mold and a rolling pin.

August. The group began making slippers of different colors by dyeing husks since about five years ago, and among some 20 kinds of colors available, red-colored slippers are proving especially popular.

The slippers are becoming known among foreign people, since the U.S. Air Force’s Misawa Air Base is located in the adjacent city of Misawa. Recently, the group receives orders from overseas as well.

Miniature slippers, about 7 cm long, which can be used as key accessories, are also available.

Miniature slippers, about 7 cm long, which can be used as key accessories, are also available.

This entry was posted in Photos. Bookmark the permalink.