By: Nao Nomura
Starting in the 1970s, traveling exhibitions of American quilts introduced Japanese audiences to what they perceived as a quintessentially American form of material culture. Since that time Japanese quiltmakers have adopted and adapted quiltmaking in ways that are highly influenced by American traditions yet simultaneously particular to Japanese culture. This paper examines the introduction, popularization, and diffusion of the appropriation of American aesthetics, the establishment of ‘quilt schools’ in the Japanese tradition , and the emergence of contemporary Japanese-style quilts through the analysis of literary evidence, fieldwork at a quilt schools and interviews with quiltmakers. Japanese women are now playing an active role in the making of a new hybrid quiltmaking culture resulting from the global circulation of quilt knowledge and information as well as the active flow of quiltmakers and quilts.