I first met late ethnologist Chuzaburo Tanaka in the spring of 2009. He took me to his warehouse in Aomori prefecture where he acquired his collection of over 50 years. There I was simply astonished at the size of the collection (approximately 30,000 commonersf clothing and real artifacts!), and with the distinctive power and energy that each Boro piece was giving. Taking a close look at those Boro with Mr. Tanakafs detailed explanations of the hidden stories including how those Boro were made and what the intentions were there. I noticed myself drawn into the world of Boro deeper and felt strongly like a mission to make an opportunity to introduce this collection that would tell these beautiful untold stories! That is how I was convinced to start the whole idea of this Amuse Museum.
gMuseum exhibiting Boroh sounds every bit as nerdy as it is, but we have been visited by people in many genres of art, such as fashion designers, textile creators, painters, musicians, novelists and film directors, not to mention ethnologists and fashion researchers from all over the world in our 7 years of operation.
Boro, now universally referred to as gBOROh, has acquired great recognition in the art industry all over the world. Some people might criticize that BORO does not have an intentional design, but I would say wrong and insist that they consist of very creative patterns. If only needed for cold weather, Boro would have been layers of large cloth. Instead, people used many pieces of cloth patched together so it would look more attractive; that is nothing but intentional to me.
Looking at Boro with that background, I cannot help but feel it is gthe core and origin of fashion.h Fashion can be taken lightly sometimes, with concepts like ePutting too much effort on looksf, eDonft judge people by their appearancef or eWhat matters is what you have at heart, not how you lookf, etc. No, no, that is not it. I would dare to say that it is one of our animalistic instincts to look nicer, to try to leave our own DNA passing down through the generations. Nothing, not even poverty, would stop us from chasing our desires to look better no matter how severe life treats us.
With the instinct that we were all born with, Boro quietly but vigorously shows how much effort people have put in, with the spirit of recycling the limited resources (ECOLOGY), miraculous skills of sashiko stitching (TECHNIQUE), love woven into (EMOTION), and beauty of passing ages (PATINA). Boro has indeed become very much equivalent to todayfs top art motifs. I strongly feel, the essence of Borofs inspiration is not really the designs of the stitching themselves but rather the instinctive desire that all living creatures are naturally obsessed with to survive.
At this exhibition you will find not only the collection of Chuzaburo Tanaka but also 38 pieces of very precious ethnological clothing from the collection of Toshiro Kojima from his gallery Okanoue Apt in Nishikokubunji, Tokyo. Mr. Kojima, an artist and gallery owner, has collected beautiful pieces of Boro with his artistic points of view. Together with the collection of Mr. Tanaka, Mr. Kojimafs collection reveals us a rough and robust yet unexpected sense of beauty. I hope you enjoy the contrast of todayfs prevailing consumer culture throughout this exhibition.
“Museum of Textile Arts and Ukiyo-e” AMUSE MUSEUM
Director & Chief Curator Kiyoshi Tatsumi