Vintage silk kimono with gold and silver

Encased in a painstakingly-restored vintage silk kimono fabric woven through with actual gold and silver, this handbound diary is a celebration of culture, craft, tradition and artisanry all at once.

Centuries of history and culture, distilled

Worn by women in Japan since the 4th century, the kimono is an indelible part of Japanese history and culture. Traditionally, kimonos were hand-loomed in laborious fashion with silk brocade and threads made from actual gold and silver. The complexity of each pattern was often as much a reflection of the wealth and status of its future owner as it was a demonstration of the artisan's skill.

Modern kimono-making often relies on machine-stitching and more affordable, easier-to-work fabrics such as cotton and rayon, displacing the handmade kimono and turning its manufacture into a gradually dying art. There are still a few houses that hew to the old traditions, looming and stitching their kimonos by hand. Musubi is proud to be able to support these artisans and their work.

A lost age, and a retold tale

Every piece of silk brocade we use is cut from an actual vintage kimono woven through with gold and silver — in most cases from its highly-decorated obi, or belt. Some of these pieces were worn and loved by their owners; others have lain untouched for decades, with most pieces in the Musubi collection ranging from about 50 to 200 years old.

Each piece is lovingly and painstakingly restored by a team of master kimono artisans in Fukuoka, who clean and repair the fabric and metal whilst ensuring that it retains its distinct character and lustre. We then transfer the restored pieces to our atelier in Singapore, where our artisans stabilise the rear of the fabric to prepare it for bookbinding. The entire process happens over multiple weeks, if not months, making this one of the most complex offerings in the atelier's entire lineup.

Every piece its own story

The elaborate decorations on each kimono revolve around nature and the four seasons, with elements of day-to-day life mixed in for good measure. Cranes soar over weeping willows; creeks bubble under ancient bridges and past gilded pagodas. An elegant treasure box sits upon a table; merchants ride their horses past teahouses full with laughter and life.

Your diary will feature one or more of these motifs. Every piece is unique.

Socially conscious craftsmanship

Every Musubi journal is handbound in Singapore by a team of artisans with physical and intellectual disabilities. Your purchase funds employment opportunities for these talented individuals.

Your support also helps provide economic viability for the work of traditional Japanese kimono makers. By finding modern uses for traditional arts, the atelier assists in ensuring that these techniques are not lost to time.

Unique materials, meticulously sourced

Our special edition journals feature unique fabric and paper from around the world, showcasing the breadth and depth of human ingenuity and high technology. Each batch is made in small quantities limited by the amount of cloth available to the atelier, and as such may be difficult to restock once the production run is over.

Gift packaging included

Every diary comes ready to gift, packaged in a Musubi box with a certificate hand-signed by our team of artisans with disabilities. The certificate doubles as a bookmark and has a grid guide sheet printed on its reverse side.