History of Awa Ai
The origin of Awa Ai is still uncertain. According to one account, Hachisuka family introduced indigo to Awa (the old name of Tokushima area) in the Azuchi-Momoyama period (1568–1600 AD), but other evidence suggests that indigo was already an important source of revenue in the Muromachi period (1378-1573 AD).
In the Edo Period (1603-1867 AD), Awa Ai was extremely profitable under the protection and control of fiefs (Han). Because of the effects of demands and production increases, the market share of dye in Japan was almost monopolized by Awa Ai, and these could be caused of creating prosperity of Tokushima economically, socially and culturally.
After the year of 1903 (36th year of the Meiji period, the peak year of Awa Ai sales), the amount of production had been reducing because of importing Indian indigo which is cheaper than Awa Ai and Synthetic indigo which could be produced a lot and cheaper.
In recent years, people have more interests for nature-oriented and value-oriented products than before. Awa Ai products also has been evaluated as natural goods.