1. Benibana (Safflower : Carthamus Tinctorius) Revived (蘇った紅花)
Kahoku Town is called "the country of benibana". In Edo period, Mogami (最上) safflower was in cultivation in this area (in those days, a present Murayama (村山) area was called Mogami). And the flower leaves were processed into a cake of lumps and transported up to Kyoto. There, the lumps were made into the red cosmetic for cheeks and lips and used to make up the lips of noble ladies. Furthermore, people dyed the costumes in bright or faint crimson with benibana color. The mysterious beauty of its color was the longing of ladies all through the ages.
In spite of such valuable materials of colors as these, the flower was forced to disappear in Meiji era under the influence of the chemical materials which were brought into this country. But even after that, the costumes that have been used in the Emperial Palace or its various ceremonies slightly continued to be dyed with the safflower dyeing materials produced in Yamagata refecture.
In 1981, when Kahoku Town decided its town's flower, the people did not hesitate to nominate benibana as a town's flower. Also in 1984 they opened "the Benibana Museum", consisted of "the Benibana House" in 1986 and other properties in 1984. The beautiful color of benibana has charmed people and the faint and vanishing beauty of it has been miraculously revived by benibana loving people.