Okinawa Tourism Information:Light,CoolScrewPineHats

Light, Cool Screw Pine Hats

post : 2014.10.27 16:00

The screw pine is an often seen evergreen tropical tree. They grow near the beach and have a pineapple like fruit. Have you ever seen one? The leaves and trunk are very useful and since the days of antiquity and they have been used to make folk items such as grass sandals and bags.

In 1904, the merchant Tokujiro Katayama discover a unique way of weaving hats and with their high quality they boomed and were even exported overseas. At the time awamori (type of liquor), sugar and screw pine hats were said to be the souvenirs from Okinawa

However, after the war, the number of screw pines decreased and alternative material rose and fell, and now you can barely see them.

Yumiko Itokazu first encountered screw pine hats two and a half years ago. When she found about them and filled with interest she talked to her mother and her mother told her “Your grandmother was a hat weaver. The hat your grandfather wore was woven by your grandmother.” When she heard that she was filled with the emotion of wanting to weave.   

When she asked some she knew, they told her there was an elderly lady on Iejima that knew how to weave screw pine hats. Soon after she went there to visit and after going there a couple of dozen times, she learned how to weave.

She now has a workshop in Nakaguzu Village and little by little starting weaving hats by herself.

After gathering the leaves of screw pine, she removes the thorns, cuts them to about 5mm piece and boils them. After that she use shikwasa to fade the leaves and she lets them dry. After drying them for about one month they can be woven, so she return them water once more until it get to the same thickness and cuts it one more time. To make one hat about 1,000 strands are needed and the cutting alone takes about one week. From there the weaving can start. To weave a hat, it takes 32 hours over 3 days.

“I want this culture and technique to last. I want to think of new designs and methods for modern times so I can pass it on.”

The completed hat was surprisingly light, strong and doesn’t get stuffy. It is the perfect hat for Okinawan weather. There may be a day whn a lot of people will be seen wearing screw pine hats.

Yumiko is still studying. She doesn’t have a storefront to sell her goods, but it possible to visit her workshop and order. So if you are interested make an inquiry.

Workshop ori to ami
2F 467-2 Noborimata, Nakagusuku-son
TEL: 090-6857-4863

Okinawa Clip Photowriter Masayuki Sesoko


2F 467-2 Noborimata, Nakagusuku-son