「斉藤三才」Saito Sansai - Roots of Jotaro Saito


Many of you probably already know about JOTARO SAITO, a kimono brand from Kyoto which I reported about previously. (At Tokyo Fashion Week & The store)

着物好きやブログを読んでる皆さんはJOTARO SAITOと言う着物ブランドを知ってますよね? 今回はこのブランドの歴史を紐解いてみたいと思います。
(前回の記事:東京コレクション & 絹磨xJOTARO SAITOの紹介

Jotaro Saito Tokyo

JOTARO SAITO actually comes from a traditional line of kimono artisans in Kyoto. His father Saito Sansai also designs kimono (and revolutionised the industry already before Jotaro) and also Sansai has a father who started the kimono dyeing initially.



Let’s take a look into the history of the Saito line:

First generation:
Saito Saizaburo (斉藤才三郎) was born in 1909 in Shiga Prefecture. He moved to Tokyo to study at an art school and worked as a designer and dyer at a company in Tokyo.
After some years he quit and started his own company. He designed and painted kimono, also studied and developed his own colours.
At the age of 64 he passed away in the year 1973.

オリジナルの色見本『今一つの色』を第十一集まで出版。また作品集も発行し、創作への意欲を打ち出した。昭和48年(1979)死去、享年64歳。(引用 ホームページより)

Second generation:
Saito Sansai (斉藤三才) learned the craft from his father Saizaburo and joined the company in Tokyo for his training. After finishing he joined his fathers company. Sansai worked together with modern artisans too and created new and different kimono.
1966 Sansai took over the company and changed the name to his own.

Sansai revolutionised kimono in many ways by using unusual colours or pattern which he got laughed at and criticised by the kimono companies. However those new ideas actually were a hit among kimono wearers. Sansai also was the first to make denim kimono and using other interesting fabrics.

「才三郎の長男に生まれる。染色作家として活躍していた父の影響を受け、同じく「珍粋」に奉公へ。修業期間を終え、三才染工芸に入社。二代目として得意先周りをし、技術の研鑽を重ねる。父の知り合いであった日本画家・加納三楽輝に師事し、筆運びから植物の写生などデッサンのアドバイスを受ける。きもの雑誌で「親子創作展」が特集され、三才のキモノは斬新と女優やモデルから注文が殺到。「着る人を喜ばすきものづくり」に専念する。昭和41年同社社長に就任、株式会社三才に社名を変更。染色作家として新作を発表してきた個展は35回を数え、大会場でのキモノショーも手がけて成功に導く。和装の常識を打ち破った配色が「六十(才)地色に二十(才)柄」と業界から批判を浴びたが、その独創的な色調は市場に受け入れられ、「三才調」と呼ばれるスタイルを確立した。「上品すぎると野暮、粋すぎると下品」「きものはいきもの」「百線練磨」など独自のファッション哲学を表す名言も多い。(引用 ホームページより)

Third generation:
Saito Jotaro (斉藤上太郎) was born in 1969, learned from his father and made his debut as a kimono designer at the age of 27. As Japanese continued to walk away from traditional clothing Jotaro designed complete kimono outfits in a modern fashion. He didn’t like the idea of kimono being formal wear only but to wear them in a casual manner for daily life.

Apart from kimono Jotaro also designs some Japanese inspired interior and costumes. Spreading the Japanese beauty of artwork and designs is his goal. To spread awareness he brought kimono to the runway of Tokyo Fashion Week and opened his shop in Tokyo, Roppongi. (Kenma x Jotaro Saito)

「昭和44年(1969)、三才の長男に生まれる。祖父・才三郎と父・三才から「伝統は進化する」ことを学び、27歳でキモノデザイナーとしてデビュー。日本人の和装離れが進むなか、儀礼的なユニフォームとして着るのではなく、ワードローブとして楽しむキモノを主張。キモノに限らず、帯・帯揚げ・帯締め・衿・草履・バッグに至るまで自らデザインし、トータルにコーディネイトする。きものの様式美を守りつつ、現代の都市空間にマッチする新しいキモノスタイルを提案。平成14年以降、キモノ作品だけで「東京コレクション」に参加。さらに「和を楽しむ」というコンセプトで、ホテルやレストランのインテリア・家具のデザインも積極的に手がける。現在、①キモノ、②コスチューム(著名人の衣装)、③アートワーク、④プロダクツの4つのジャンルで活躍中。平成21年にはブランドショップ「絹磨×JOTARO SAITO」を六本木ヒルズにオープン。キモノをベースにしながら、次世代のジャポニズムを発信している。(引用 ホームページより)

Jotaro Saito Tokyo

I was invited to see Sansai’s collection at the store in Roppongi and meet the designer himself as well.
斉藤三才さんの作品や本人との出会いは、「絹磨xJOTARO SAITO 六本木店」に誘って頂いたことがきっかけです。

Jotaro Saito Tokyo

Jotaro Saito Tokyo

I love the vibrant colours!

Jotaro Saito Tokyo

Jotaro Saito Tokyo

After a detailed look and introduction of his designs and items I tried some kimonos on.
For the first time I had a kimono fabric bolt draped on me like a kimono.
To see what Sansai would pick for me, I asked him to style me a coordinate. This is the result:


Jotaro Saito Tokyo

Next up is a lovely denim kimono by Jotaro Saito actually. It features Wisteria flowers. The obi was so lightweight it was unbelievable.
I think that’s a lovely casual coordinate.


Jotaro Saito Tokyo

Jotaro Saito Tokyo

Jotaro Saito Tokyo

My favourite coordinate is this collab of father and son’s works:
A black jersey kimono by Jotaro Saito paired with a vibrant woven obi by Saito Sansai.


Jotaro Saito Tokyo

Jotaro Saito Tokyo

This obi is to die for!!

Jotaro Saito Tokyo

Together with the master himself, Saito Sansai!
He is a really lovely man with a great vision. We had a long talk about kimono and styles and it was funny how our thoughts matched exactly.


Jotaro Saito Tokyo

To be honest – I had an eye on the jersey kimono since I saw it at the Fashion Week. When I last came to the shop the black one had already sold, but the fit and style was so amazing I never forgot about it.
This time a black one was available and even better: With my beloved houndstooth design!

I was so torn and stood in the shop for about an hour, trying to decide if I buy this kimono or not.. (It’s quite some money!) But due to the fact that he might not reproduce this one and wanting it for a long while I gave in and took this beauty home.



Jotaro Saito Tokyo

Jotaro Saito Tokyo

I was in shock about my behaviour but super happy. Can’t wait for autumn to wear it – for now summer kimonos and yukata are on the agenda!

Well, I just gotta work harder now to justify that purchase. (That is what I tell myself every time though. Haha)
Don’t we all have our weak points? Let’s embrace ’em.




Homepage: https://www.san-sai.com/index.php

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