【Edo Tokyo Rethink】Isehan Honten x Noritaka Tatehana
Isehan Honten, Japan’s last remaining traditional rouge-maker, has been making and selling “beni” rouge since the early 1800s, during the Edo era.
Its rouge is made from red pigment extracted from safflower petals. This pigment makes up only 1% of each petal, so it is exceedingly rare.
An iridescent gleam is the sign of high quality rouge, and in the latter part of the Edo era it became fashionable to layer rouge on the lips to produce a green effect in what was calledsasabeni, or “bamboo grass rouge.”
Isehan Honten constantly sought to create even more beautiful, iridescent rouge, refining its approach and developing a secret technique that it carries on even today.
The rouge used in this collaborative work was red when used as a dye, but when the surface of the dyed leather dried, became an iridescent green.
These “heel-less shoes” are the product of painstaking trial and error, trying different leather colors and rouge dye concentration to produce their iridescent green finish.
*All necessary safety precautions were taken during the interview as part of COVID-19 prevention.
Online Exhibition Outline
Exhibition Title: Edo Tokyo Rethink -The Future of Traditional Industry Seen Through Art at the Kyu-Iwasaki-tei Gardens-
Organizer: Tokyo Metropolitan Government, Edo-Tokyo Kirari Project
Co-organizer: Tokyo Metropolitan Park Association