Okano was born from the Hakata-ori tradition of textile weaving.
The origin of Hakata-ori has several hypotheses. A popular belief is that in 1241 a Hakata(*1) merchant named Mitsuda Yazaemon(*2) is said to have brought back a particular weaving techniques from China(*3). Yet another hypothesis claims an even more ancient origin. This theory traces the roots of Hakata-ori some 2000 years based on the discovery of silk fabrics excavated from Arita(*4) ruins in Fukuoka(*5) prefecture. According to this theory the beginning of Hakata-ori is linked to silk fabrics excavated from the ruins in Fukuoka. For 130 years, with eternal respect to this ancient genealogy, we at Okano have honored this distinctive craft.

History is a process of evolution.
To commemorate a two thousand year history, Okano’s 5th generation director set up the “Millennium Studio”, hoping to pass on our craft for the next 1000 years. In a trade where distribution dominates markets, such an intention was regarded as revolutionary. Nevertheless, with that objective in mind, in 2005 the store “awai”, which links kimono to fashion, was launched in Fukuoka. Then in 2007 “Kimono Hakata 10” opened and in 2012 was renamed the “Millennium Studio”. Our vision evolved to “Tokyo Kimono” as “Tokyo” represented the setting where the world meets Japan, leading to the “awai” store relocation in 2008 “awai” to Roppongi in Tokyo. The enhanced presence in Tokyo further enabled us to advocate our vision nationwide in Japan.

With the opening of our representative store in Ginza Six in 2017, all our names were integrated as “Okano, Kimono Production”. This Ginza store is now our window to the world – a window into our world of weaving and dyeing, a window for our essential artisans and their craftsmanship that create such exceptional results. The “awai” store, still located in Roppongi, was renamed “awai by Okano” but in 2018 will be fully merged into “Okano, Kimono Production”.

From the beginning “Okano” was not single minded. Okano believed it would not be properly serving the special world of artisans that comprise the sphere of the finest Japanese orimono (dyed fabric weaving) if they presented only one type of dyeing and / or weaving, such as Hakata-ori. So, from the start of their operations, they were encompassing of many other valued and superbly skillful Japanese dyeing and weaving methods. Okano continues to be a robust place where all can create. At the same time it is a platform, an organic stage, where these results can be performed. From national treasure craftsmen to proficient young artisans, whose participation is so critical for the future, through Okano the very best of their results, visualizations that capture a moment in their times, are made available. All of us, together with all who enjoy and appreciate this distinctive craft, are proud to convey a new story to the next generation.


1. Hakata precisely is now the eastern portion of the city of Fukuoka and the port area. Hakata has been known throughout their history as a merchant town. Hakata flourished from the 7th century onwards primarily due to their geographical proximity to China and Korea, making it an essential gateway for cultural and trade with Asia.

2. Mitsuda Yazaemon was a young merchant in Hakata who travelled to Sung Dynasty China in the 13th century and credited with bringing to Japan in 1241, weaving techniques that eventually became know in Japan as Hakata-ori. Yazaemon family kept the technique within their family for generations, which was then known as Kanton (Kuong Tung) ori. Yazaemon collaborated with a Zen monk Shoichi Kokusai, who travelled with him to China, and since then, Hakata-ori has closely been associated with Buddhism.

3. China Song (Sung) Dynasty 960 to 1279 AD.

4. This Arita is a town in Fukuoka Prefecture (Kyushu) – not to be confused with the famous Kyushu town of Arita in Saga Prefecture that is most renown for their porcelain, which origins date back over 400 years to the period after the invasion of Korea by Hideyoshi, when Korean potters were brought back to Japan by the Nabeshima clan, feudal lords of Hizen (current Saga Prefecture)

5. Fukuoka is the largest city in the island of Kyushu and traces its history over 2000 years. The entire Fukuoka area is noted as a bastion of traditional culture and arts from porcelain and ceramics, fabrics and weaving, wood work and ancient sword smiths to the multitude of famous Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples. And, not the least Fukuoka is noted for its food and cooking as it is blessed to be near the strong sea currents traversing the Inland Sea to the Japan sea providing bountiful seafood. “Hakata Ramen” is perhaps one of the most popular versions of ramen in Japan, made with rich stock.

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