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Samurai, Farmers, and the Color Blue

Indigofera and the dye made from it has a long history in Japan, dating back to the 1600s. Used not just for color, it was worn under the armor of samurai for its natural stiffness and antibacterial properties. It even found its way into firefighter clothing, as indigo can be flame retardant up to 1500 degrees. In Tokushima, Japan, only five farmers still grow the labor-intensive plant renowned for its beautiful shades of blue.

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