Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Liberal Studies (MALS)


Liberal Studies

First Advisor

Sang Wook Lee

Second Advisor

Claudia Mills


This paper describes the place in time - the vernacular context in social, economic, cultural and geographic terms - in which specific utilitarian textiles -- sakiori, shifu and boro -- were produced in Japan from, roughly, the Edo (or Tokugawa), through the Meiji, Taisho, and Showa periods, or 1600 to the mid-1900's. Sakiori, shifu and boro clothing and household textiles incorporated re-purposed, recycled fibers and materials in response to conditions of poverty and harsh living conditions in rural Japan. These utilitarian artifacts affect particular aesthetic qualities, reflective of the conditions within which they were originally produced, and are resonant, to some contemporary audiences, in their simplicity and humility of a late 20th and early 21st century modernist sensibility.