As a native Japanese, the biggest fear of Cultural Appropriation is NOT about someone “stealing” it. It is the cultural “westernization” in its filtering – which potentially could “destroy” the beauty of original culture. That’s the reason I speak up in Sashiko. I respect the western culture to be very effective and logic. However, a teacher needs to understand the difference in cultures.
There are a number of styles of Sashiko in Japan. Starting from 3 major Sashiko (Kogin, Hishizashi, Shonai), there are many Sashiko survived, revived, and lost in both named & nameless condition. In my memory, I have never seen any discussion about “what is the right Sashiko” regardless of this huge variety. This harmony/indecisiveness is the fundamental of Japanese culture. We do not need “absolute” justice. We can all co-exist. I still feel the same. Therefore, I say, I would like to protect “our Sashiko” with respecting the other Sashiko. We didn’t share our Sashiko for more than 40 years, however, it doesn’t mean we didn’t exist. There are millions of similar practices, I believe.
Unfortunately, when Sashiko is filtered by western dualism and justice system, they start looking for the “answers”. They think “their teachers are (supposed to be) the only answer” and start excluding others – although the teacher wouldn’t want those disputes. Isn’t it absurd to see non-Japanese discussing what is a more “authentic” or “traditional” way to do Sashiko in non-Japanese language? A condition of being undecided (middle) is called Chudo (中道). This is one reason for the richness of Japanese culture. I do not want non-Japanese to destroy this richness – and therefore I speak up about the “insufficiency” within Sashiko.
#Sashiko #JapaneseSashiko #SashikoStitching #CulturalAppropriation #刺し子