Western Kogin for Mountain Work
Western “Kogin” embroidery is a product of the region to the west of Hirosaki City's Iwaki River, in areas presently known as Nishimeya, Soma, Funazawa, and Kozawa.
In these regions it was common to have to carry heavy loads while working in the mountains, so to prevent the shoulder area fabric from wearing down, the shoulders were embroidered with stripes. This pattern is made from 5 layers each of alternating black and white thread, and thus is also known as “Striped Kogin” embroidery.
Compared to other regions, the hemp linen used for Western “Kogin” is fine and delicate, and the patterns are detailed and painstaking to create. Accordingly, these clothes are prized as finery. Their beauty was so highly regarded that there was a saying, “If you are going to marry, take a bride from the West.”