Reiko from Peru#6 色の好み ~ペルー在住鏑木玲子さんのエッセイ~


Sometimes it is difficult to work with foreigners. Yes, I’m a foreigner working with Peruvian women. Sometimes, though, I have to think with Japanese sense. I have to make them work to make Japanese and those of other foreign countries happy and make them feel like buying our items.

First, about ten years ago, I had to say “yes, it’s good” even when I knew that not many Japanese would like to buy them. At that time I had to make the women happy, happy to make something pretty and beautiful for them. Little by little, we had to change it as our sale increased and as I heard the comments from those who have been selling our items in Japan, in Korea and in Geneva and the US. It was still for charity that people bought them.

We have to produce things to make money, but we have to produce things professionally made and in the way the customers like. If Japanese don’t like this or that color, we shouldn’t use these colors for Japan. But we have to think how the selling table will be. Is it good to make them without these colors? One year I told the women not to make items with these unsold colors for Japan. It was not good, the selling table was dark and missing something, said the person who sold our products in a bazaar.


The taste of colors is different from country to country. It is not easy to understand the tastes of other countries. Those who have been with me for a long time know, even if it is vaguely, that most of the Japanese don’t buy the products of certain colors, but for new members it is not interesting to knit scarves or snoodoswith the yarns of natural alpaca colors or dark colors like dark green or navy blue. One of the new comers complained a few days ago that she had been always advised to use natural or darker colors. Her expression was like sarcasm or disdain. I couldn’t tolerate her way of speaking and I had to say about the purpose of our work of many, many hours, day in day out. We are not knitting just to pass time with friends. I want them to enjoy knitting, but we cannot ignore the fact that some colors are not easily accepted in certain countries.

Some years ago, I ask one woman to knit with three strong colors, just like the Kabuki-za curtain as I dreamed a dream of a scarf with those three colors. I sent it to my sister and she said that it is so strange and Kabuki curtain-like. But she put it in a table with other ones and, surprisingly, it was accepted by a person for whom it was very good.

Since last year, we have been using two sparkling colors, violet and emerald green. I had a kind of fear that they would be rejected with scorn, but many people liked them. I hope that we can find beautiful and acceptable new colors this year. Now it is the end of the season for the companies producing alpaca yarns, and new season will come soon. I expect beautiful colors are made for the next season.