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Aizome—Searching for the origins of Japan blue in Setouchi

The Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games uses aiiro, indigo blue, in its emblem. Robert William Atkinson was a British chemist that came to Japan in 1875. He observed many Japanese wearing aizome, indigo dyed clothing, and called the color Japan blue. Today, this hue is familiar to many Japanese people as a color symbolic of Japan, and clothing such as uniforms for the national soccer team make use of it. The origins of this unique, mystical color that is also garnering attention overseas lie in the prefectures of Okayama and Tokushima that face the Seto Inland Sea in western Japan.

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