【History of Canvas】Part1  Origin of Canvas and Matsuemon Kuraku

It is said that the origin of canvas dates back to ancient Egypt, flax canvas first began to be used as a ship's sail. This fabric was excellent in durability, also  said to be used for wrapping mummies.

In 18th century, Japan, Matsuemon Kuraku who was a boatman was devoted to inventing a good sail and began to develop cotton canvas fabrics. Cotton canvas became a great invention which further developed the routes from Edo to Osaka, and had gradually spread all over the country.

Matsuemon was born in Takasagi-cho Tominomiya Town in 1743 as a first son, left Takasago at the age of 15, then became boatman at the Hyogo port and took work to carry various things from port to port. In his lifetime, he achieved various kinds of projects, including those related to the sea, refurbishment of the breakwater, maintenance of the port. The development of canvas was also one of them.

The current canvas production has shifted,  about 70% of canvas in Japan are being produced in Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture. This is because of the cultivation of cotton prospered well and cotton thread technology was used in this area. The photograph shows the manufacturing process, twisting the yarn together to make a stronger thread.

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