Try kogin-sashi, a traditional stitchcraft developed by the women of Tsugaru (present-day western Aomori). Learn about the craft’s impressive history, and hand-stitch a pattern onto a coaster to create your own kogin-sashi item.
Try kogin-sashi stitching in the city of Hirosaki in Aomori Prefecture! Kogin-sashi, also known as ‘kogin-zashi,’ is a traditional form of needlework that began in 1788, during the feudal Edo period (1603–1867). Pioneered by the women of the Tsugaru region (present-day western Aomori), this craft began as a way of repairing old, worn-out pieces of clothing — the only clothes that peasants were allowed to have at the time. As temperatures plummeted during Tsugaru’s long and harsh winters, women made the most of what little they had, transforming threadbare clothes into sturdy and insulated garbs through kogin-sashi. Today, a practice that was once a means for survival now shines as a delicate artisanal activity. Although kogin-sashi currently serves purely aesthetic purposes, it remains a well-regarded form of needlework that artisans and enthusiasts have been working to preserve and pass down to future generations. One such group of eager advocates comprises the Hirosaki Kogin Institute. Learn kogin-sashi from the Hirosaki Kogin Institute, a champion of kogin-sashi’s revival. This organization preserves kogin-sashi’s traditional techniques but adds a modern flair to the stitched geometric designs characteristic of the craft. Start by watching a step-by-step instructional video on kogin-sashi. Then, it’s time to get your fingers working. Stitch your own linen coaster. You'll be given an instructional material to guide you through creating a unique colored pattern. Once you’re done, take your kogin-sashi item home for you to use. You can also shop for more kogin-sashi items at the studio.