April 08, 2021 at 12:52PM

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.

争い事を嫌い、結論を先延ばしにし、なあなあで済ませる。妥協し、折り合いを付け、あやむやにし、果ては馴れ合い共に笑う。問題解決が至上である現代において、この日本人的な行動パターンは、「日本人の駄目なところ」として認識されているかもしれません。実際、弊害も出ているし。でも、文化的に見ると、「正解(勝者)を作らない」というこの「どっちつかず」こそが、日本文化を豊かにし、独自性を持たせているのかなと思ったりしています。英語で西洋人が「これが伝統的な刺し子だ。いやいやこちらが正真正銘の刺し子だ。」って議論してるのを見ると、その段階で、「おぉ盛大にズレてるなぁ」と思うんです。でも笑ってられない。日本国外で議論された正解が逆輸入されると、今度は日本国内でも喧嘩が始まっちゃうので、それまでに「そもそも議論になってなかったし」と紹介しておかねばと思うのです。

#Sashiko #JapaneseSashiko #SashikoStitching #CulturalAppropriation #刺し子


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