Disabled People Emerging as Bearers of Traditional Craft Culture in Kyoto

Jiji Press

July 4th 2018

Kyoto, July 4 (Jiji Press)– People with intellectual disabilities are playing key roles in the traditional manufacturing industry in Kyoto, where a shortage of inheritors is becoming a serious problem.

Intellectually impaired people aiming to acquire professional techniques to make traditional crafts, such as “Nishijin-ori” textiles and “wa rosoku” Japanese candles, are expected to be new bearers of the long-established industrial art of Kyoto, which has a 1,200-year history.

At the Nishijin Koubou facility in Kyoto’s Kita Ward, people with intellectual disabilities are producing Nishijin-ori goods using hand-weaving equipment.

Takashi Kawai, a native of the Nishijin area in the western Japan city, opened the facility in 2004, hoping to protect the traditional weaving technique while providing disabled people with opportunities to improve their work skills.

With orders for filature increasing every year, the facility became one of the biggest filature plants in the area, which stretches between Kamigyo and Kita wards.

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