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When I read a Russian novel “A Common Story” (Обыкновенная история, 1847), I was very interested in the author Ivan Alexandrovich Goncharov (Ива́н Алекса́ндрович Гончаро́в), so next I started to read his part of Japanese voyage in “The Frigate Pallada” (Фрегат “Паллада”, 1858).

The Frigate Pallada, Ivan Goncharov

The Frigate Pallada (Фрегат “Паллада”, 1858)

In 1853, Goncharov started off the world tour through England, Africa, Japan, and back to Russia, on board frigate Pallada, as the secretary of Admiral Yevfimy Putyatin who wanted to start the commerce between Russia and Japan (at that time, Japan closed the country for the national isolation). His impression about the conference between Japanese samurai ambassadors plenipotentiary and Russia’s Putyatin and remark about Japan were particular and vividly. He was worthy to be novelist of Russia! He called at Okinawa island (South of Japan) which was Ryukyu kingdom at that time, and wrote Okinawa like a place of an ancient pastoral golden age. unfortunately I’ve never been to Okinawa, I went to see the exhibition about “Bingata, Colors and Shapes of the Ryukyu dynasty: Commemorating the 40th anniversary of the reversion of Okinawa to Japan” at Suntory museum of art in Roppongi, Tokyo. They explains about Bingata;

Bingata is a textile dyed with a technique created in Okinawa for clothing used by specific classes of Ryukyu society – including royal and shizoku families. The assortment of shapes created using paper patterns combines with unique Ryukyu colors to demonstrate the delightful capabilities of katazome (stencil dyeing).

Bingata, Suntory museum 2012


There are some national treasure 18-19 Century’s cloths that are superb artistic dresses.

Bingata, Suntory Museum 2012