World Shibori Network

Celebrating the visual languages of PEOPLE, COMMUNITY, CULTURE, and ENVIRONMENT through the global practice of resist-dye traditions and innovations, keeping in mind authenticity, reciprocity, and networking.

Motohiko Katano

Shibori Master Katano


Motohiko Katano (1889-1975), a painter turned dyer, created a body of sublime shibori work using indigo and other natural dyes. Guided by Soetsu Yanagi and Kanjiro Kawai, leaders of the mingei (“folk craft”) movement, Katano recognized the beauty of the humble yet high spirited art of Arimatsu-Narumi shibori and, from 1957 to his death, set out to revive these traditions. Many of his techniques were inspired by shibori craft traditions from the area where he lived, in Nagoya. One such process, now popularly called “katano shibori,” produces a repeating pattern across the width of the cloth in variegated colors, white lines, and areas resembling soft airbrushed tinting. His work leaves an indelible mark on contemporary shibori art, and his legacy is being continued by his daughter, Kaori Katano. Acclaimed fiber artists Hiroyuki Shindo and Shioko Fukumoto have been greatly inspired by Katano’s work.

above: Motohiko Katano, photo taken by Takumi Fujimoto
below, image 1: excerpt about M. Katano and innovation, from “Shibori: Inventive Art of Shaped Resist Dyeing” by Y.I. Wada, p 222
image of design samples collected in Katano postcard booklets sold here