Chiso (千總)

Chiso is a long established firm dealing with Kyo-Yuzen (silk fabrics printed in Kyoto). Chiso was founded by Sengiriya Yozaemon NISHIMURA. Current head of the firm is the fifteenth, Sozaemon NISHIMURA. It was named 'Chiso' (千總) for combination of 'Chi' (千) of 'Sengiri' (千切) and 'so' (總) of 'Sozaemon' (總左衛門).
The crest for the firm Chiso was designed in the image of chigiri (design of a warped beam for a weaving machine), tachibana (mandarin orange tree), kiku (chrysanthemum,) and a flower of to (rattan.)
The firm has sales outlets at department stores and kimono shops (drapers) across the country.

At the Chiso Museum, various costutme-related art works and materials are preserved, parts of which are exhibited at Chiso Kimono Gallery (at the second floor of head office building) and also loaned out to other museums.

Location of Head Office: 80 banchi, Mikura-cho, Sanjo-dori Karasuma-dori Nishi-iru, Nakagyo Ward, Kyoto City, 604-8166


The firm was founded as hoi-orimono-gyo (a business of fabrics for clerical garments) in 1555 by Sengiriya Yozaemon NISHIMURA.
Originally, its main line was hoi-shozoku (clerical garments.)
Since the Jokyo and Genroku eras, Chiso added kinran-makimono (scrolls of gold brocade) and yuzen (printed silk fabrics) to items it handles, and continued production and sales of high quality senshokuhin (dyed fabric works). In the Edo period, Yuzensai MIYAZAKI, a famous designer and painter of folding fan images, applied innovative designs to a conventional dyeing technology called 'noribosen' (a kind of dyeing technique using rice glue to keep undyed parts).
Reportedly, this was the origin of 'yuzen-zome.'
The yuzen-zome greatly became popular in 1703.
Then, Chiso was engaged in official business with Imperial Palace and Imperial families as well as in the business to supply hoi (clerical garments), yuzen kosode (kimono of short sleeves with yuzen designs) and so on to monzeki-ke (families of aristocratic and imperial lineage who became Buddhist priests after retirement.)

The firm received orders from Imperial families for interior decoration of Aoyama Imperial Palace in 1874, and of Fukiage Imperial Palace in 1875. Since then, it was successively awarded with medals at international exhibitions held in various countries in the world.
Even during the World War II, Chiso was allowed to produce and sell yuzen fabrics as an 'authorized preserver of techniques.'
In 1958, on the occasion of the marrage of Crown Prince Akihito, Chiso received orders for furnishing goods from Crown Princess Michiko (the Imperial family) and other Imperial families.

To celebrate the 450th anniversary of 'Chiso,' it opened a retail shop 'Soya' on the ground floor of the head office building with a new concept of kimono (Japanese clothing) proposing integration into the living space of modern life and urban scenes.

[Original Japanese]