May 28, 2023 at 04:58AM

Occasionally, I come across the discussion on SNS about “Stitching on Back/Wrong side”. As you may know, in most Sashiko projects, we stitch while looking at the backside of the fabric. We look at the front (showing) side only for the checking purpose. One said, [The original way of Sashiko is stitching on the showing side]. Umm. Although we have to define what “original” is, in this Q&A, our Sashiko is completely excluded from the “Origin” of Sashiko, regardless of our 100+ years of history & so many Sashiko artisans who stitched on the back side of the fabric.

I can stitch on the front side. So, I don’t mind which side they are stitching on. What matters is if they enjoy Sashiko or not. One can stitch from the back or front, whichever they feel comfortable. When one offers the answer, however, they have to be aware of their responsibility to change “something” – this is an example of “Filtering” in Culture I sometimes mention here. There are reasons (stories) for stitching on the back side. We have “technique (wisdom)” developed based on the stories. Without us speaking up in English, the whole story & wisdom will be excluded in “their Original Sashiko”. I keep sharing stories to make sure I do not leave any experienced Sashiko artisans behind.




#Sashiko #刺し子


May 26, 2023 at 12:22PM

Npr, Life Kit Podcast, [Extended the life of your clothes with visible mending] is released on 5/25. A short interview of my idea toward mending is included. You may wonder, “Visible Mending” isn’t really Sashiko if I understand Atsushi’s story correctly. Yes, Sashiko isn’t the word for Visible Mending – and therefore, the producer of this podcast carefully asked me if her understanding of Sashiko in Visible Mending is appropriate.

For a few minutes of the interview, we spent hours of time delivering the message. It is the work done by the professional. She worried if her “Story” wasn’t filtering any of my messages. I appreciate her caring a lot, but I have no worries about her work: because what I ask is the “acknowledgement” of the Japanese artisans’ voice behind the trend, and her spending so much energy on my voice is already a sign of acknowledgement. The interpretation with acknowledgement will not harm anyone.

We now celebrate the “Visible Mending” mostly as a “Choice”. The origin of Sashiko is, however, the stitching to “Avoid Mending” out of “No Choice”. Mending is an important part of Sashiko, but embracing whatever visible mending (or even to damage the fabric to apply visible mending) calling it Sashiko (or Boro) is ignoring the origin. You don’t find a lot of mending work in my Account. Instead, you see a lot of stitching on the Denim. I enjoy Sashiko as a Choice, and I would like to respect those who were part of this Sashiko Culture by imagining what they would have chosen.


#Sashiko #SashikoDenim #刺し子 #刺し子デニム


May 24, 2023 at 08:58PM

The “Story” I often mention here can be rephrased as “Context” (not exactly the same, but both Story & Context are important to keep our Sashiko Sustainable). In a digital world where “0” and “1” can be the whole, we sometimes “lose” the context – or in different ways to phrase… context is no longer there in our communication? Anyhow, in order to understand the Japanese Culture & its practice, it is essential to read “between lines” – it is expected to understand what is “not” written/spoken/told. The Sashiko I grew up with is of course part of it.

You may have heard of the 2 different cultures: “Ask” and ”Guess”. When you look for the articles online, I believe you can find the one you like about “Ask” culture and “Guess” culture. Needless to say, Sashiko is fully soaked into the “Guess” Culture – at least the Sashiko I grew up with didn’t have even 1 percent of “Ask” Culture.

It isn’t a discussion of which is better, or “right”. It is the matter of “acknowledgement”. Unfortunately, there is no way to understand Sashiko fully without compromising the “Ask” Culture. In the process of trying “Guess” Culture, then “it” will start revealing it. In my writing, I intend to make you “think” – or encourage you to read between lines – “guess”. Some say I am mean because I do not offer “the answer”… No, me answering will not bring them the “answer” for what they are asking. It is quite difficult, yet it is something I need to challenge to sustain the culture & Sashiko we practice.

妻と話をしていて、「Ask & Guess」という二つの文化の違いについて本を読むように勧められたので、ちょこっとだけ目を通すようにしています。日本語だと「言ってみる人と空気を読む人」と訳す人もいて、なるほどなぁと。今週の配信はこの話をしてみようかなと思っています。言うまでもなく、刺し子は「Guess」の文化で育まれ、私は「Ask」の文化で刺し子を教えています。そりゃ大変なわけですよ。

#Sashiko #刺し子


May 23, 2023 at 08:16PM

The release of the Course [Introduction to Japanese Sashiko] was a bit of (actually a quite) surprise. A good surprise, but I was told that the release date would be this winter. Right after I came back from Japan, I started preparing for the release. Finally, I have a moment to think back about the Japan Trip, the first time in 10 years. A lot of things are behind schedule… I am working hard to catch up (Sorry if I were making you wait!).

When I describe Sashiko, I often say Sashiko is a never ending story. For us, stitching is “adding” stories, big or small, positive or negative, we all have stories day by day. Therefore, I say there is no such a thing as “Right or Wrong” in Sashiko – only preference. Since it is “your” story, I do not want you to follow someone’s rule – especially if that “someone” is just using the word without proper understanding of what it is.

To be honest, I didn’t (still don’t) understand how I offer the Online Course on Domestika, where many artists share their aesthetics. I was (still am) nervous if my stories meet the expectation because I do not consider myself as an “Artist”. I am just sharing stories I “had to” listen to, yet these stories are probably something we need now as we may have chosen to focus on something else over our own stories. I hope the Sashiko Story I share encourages you/them to learn more about yourself (their stories) while learning Japanese stitching. We are all on the line of stories, and when we connect each story, it will be another line to the future, as you can see in Sashiko.



#Sashiko #刺し子


May 22, 2023 at 10:43AM

You may remember the statement I made when I realized the strong trend of Sashiko a few years ago. I wrote: “I hope I can be a small stone in this Sashiko trend to create a small whirlpool”. The same statement is with me. Now, it has become my “mission” rather than a “hope”.

My goal in Sashiko – in this account – is to “pass down” the Sashiko we practice. Initial goal was to leave as many stories, photos and videos as possible so that someone in the future can reach the voices about Sashiko from Japanese. Then, my goal developed to “include” more people who do not have a voice in English to speak up.

The trend is a “flow”. Once the direction is “determined”, it is very challenging to go against, or even stand still. If my goal is to be “famous”, or get instant/momentary cash, it is best to follow the trend. However, as the flow is too strong, this trend is leaving someone very important behind – in this case, the Japanese who actually practice Sashiko for many decades. “Sashiko” became the culture without the Japanese who actually had spent their life with. Is it intentional? Or unfortunate results? I don’t know. If it happened by unfortunate misunderstanding, I am here to share & welcome to sashiko. If it is intentionally done by someone to take profit out of the word “Sashiko”, then I need your help to be a stable stone.

I NEVER say “Only Japanese can/should practice Sashiko”. All I am saying is don’t leave them behind. Everything has “upstream”. Don’t ignore it. Please acknowledge where “it” comes from. Otherwise, when the upstream is lost, we will have no “flow” we can all benefit from.


#Sashiko #刺し子 #Boro #襤褸


May 21, 2023 at 01:04PM

As I now have the “Recommendation for the Introduction of Sashiko”, let me introduce myself once again. I am Atsushi, and I consider myself as a Sashiko Artisan & Story-Teller. I teach the most important element of Sashiko – Unshin – as the [Core & Essence] of Sashiko in English, both Online & In-Person Workshop. As I teach Sashiko, I learn a lot, too. Then, I realize the need of someone speaking up about “filtered Culture”. The Sashiko introduced in English is NOT wrong, but not “sufficient” to be taught as the whole picture of Sashiko. To answer what can be “missing” in Sashiko in English, I recently released the introductory course on Domestika. I hope this will be a bridge from appropriation to appreciation in Sashiko.

I was born in a Sashiko family (where they made a living by doing Sashiko). As I hated Sashiko in my childhood & youth, I don’t consider myself as a good Sashiko stitcher. There are a lot more skilled Sashiko Artisans. However, the amount of Sashiko I have looked at & the time I had spent thinking what Sashiko is about are the absolute values I am proud of. I am here to share stories so that we can ask you to support the “culturally sustainable” Sashiko.

Photo: ©Domestika.



#Sashiko #刺し子


May 20, 2023 at 01:58PM

[Sashiko] is not a word to describe the visible mending. [Boro] is not a word for patchworking with recycled fabric. When I say [Sashiko/Boro] is NOT ___, many demand me to offer the alternative definition as if there is a single line to describe the whole culture. Unfortunately, as no single line can describe someone’s whole life, Sashiko and Boro do not have such a thing as “answer” – we have our traditions, but not the “answer” in the form of instant gratification.

I wanted to introduce our tradition somehow, though. It is our (Japanese) responsibility to speak up when the culture is “misrepresented” by non-Japanese (unless there is a solid foundation in the origin). I teach a class/workshop to make it happen – but I can only take a few students every month… It has been a painful 5 years since I kept saying [Sashiko/Boro] is NOT___ without offering a recommendation. Now, I have my follow-up recommendation when I say [Sashiko] is not a word to describe the visible mending. [Boro] is not a word for patchworking with recycled fabric. The course is very basic. You probably want more after completing it – 3 hours of lectures are going to encourage you to learn more – of course, I cannot offer a single line to describe the whole. I mentioned Boro in the course, too. Please check it out & link it on “Stories”. If you complete it already, please leave the review. The amount of reviews will push them (Domestika) to make more videos, & it would be very helpful especially if you want more follow-up courses.

Photo: ©Domestika.


#Sashiko #刺し子 #Boro #JapaneseBoro


May 17, 2023 at 11:28AM

One reason I work with Domestika is that their mission matches my “wish”. I offer Sashiko Stories here, tons of Self-made (Amature) Tutorials on Youtube, and “Unedited” Live Streaming every Thursday night. I believe many people learn Sashiko from these free resources, and I provide them because I have a strong wish: I do not want to limit who can learn by what they have or don’t have (here, mainly “money”).

Domestika offers a course with the price that many can afford. They also require teachers to suggest “Substitute” to the items we use (which was a big challenge for me anyway). My recommendations for the items are quite strong, but I understand that there are limitations, too as I do not have a large distribution network. In the course, nothing is “required”. I just want them to acknowledge the “difference” though (for that, “whatever” is NOT fine).

As I wish to avoid the forum being a “Marketing Platform”, I would like to introduce a Sashiko Supplier with decent understanding of what Sashiko is to us. Please send me a DM in a “proper way in Japanese” if you want me to mention your store in the FAQ. If you write in Japanese, the message in Japanese is great. If you don’t, write in English. Please do NOT write in Japanese if you need to rely on a translator. Your store does not need to carry items that I recommend. I ask, though, a proper acknowledgement. Any resources I can understand who you are is great. I will consider it based on the DM I receive. For now, suppliers only in countries outside of the US as I want to prioritize my stores for that. I want to introduce the supplier with care – not with power and popularity.

I understand that making a “Distributor” is a solution – but I cannot do so as our production is too small. Only Sashiko Artisans I get to know carry our items for now. I hope this will be a fair decision for those who wish to get good supplies from caring suppliers.


#Sashiko #刺し子


May 16, 2023 at 05:44PM

I very much appreciate a lot of feedback on the new Course on Domestika: Introduction to Japanese Sashiko. I am working on making Q&A for the registration process. For the enrollment, please check “Stories” or the link on Bio.

If you follow me for a while here, you may find this new course “inconsistent” to what I have been saying (speaking up) here. You may wonder why Domestika? You may have many questions coming up. So did I in the process. It wasn’t an easy decision for me to challenge this. It wasn’t probably an easy process for Domestika’s Great Team to work with me (as you know I can be quite “difficult” when it comes to Sashiko). I plan to share the stories behind the decision on our Official Website ( The link is on Story under “Domestika” Highlight.

In conclusion, I really wanted to end the very sad & painful process of Q&A, which I had had so many times in the last 5 years. Can you guess what was the question I struggled with? Don’t get me wrong. I did NOT struggle with the people who asked – I just didn’t like my answer & I didn’t like the fact I don’t have the answer they want & only available answer I had was painful.

The question is/was [What is your recommendation to start enjoying Sashiko in English? Books or Course?]. My answer was always [Unfortunately I don’t have any recommendation in English. Therefore, I feel the need to speak up this much here on SNS]. Yes, My existing Class/Workshop is my biggest recommendation – but it requires some “commitment” – not for someone who just wants to see what Sashiko is like. “No Recommendation on what I have spent my life on” is quite… sad.

Now, with Domestika’s help, I have the answer to this “welcomed” question – My recommendation to learn the introduction of Sashiko is on Domestika! The course is always available on Domestika, and I have now the answer they expect. I am the same – nothing is different before & after.


#Sashiko #SashikoClass #刺し子


New Sashiko Online Course Cover

New Sashiko Online Course in 2023

I’m thrilled to announce my new Sashiko Online Course, “Introduction to Japanese Sashiko Stitching“. This course is a bit different from what I have been offering online & In-Person. A team of professionals worked with me on Domestika, and the course has more clear, beautiful, and creative videos & photos. The Trailer is already so artistic (not my work – they are the professionals in film making!).

Video/Photo (c) Domestika

What you can learn in New Sashiko Online Course?

The main goal of this new Sashiko Online Course is to introduce the Sashiko we have been practicing. In a big trend of sustainable fashion & mending, the word “Sashiko” has now it own definition in English. As many “Sashiko Teachers” with no Japanese background offering classes, workshops, and publication, Sashiko in English is not the Sashiko I have received. I understand that the trend is so powerful. What they are teaching is NOT wrong – just insufficient to define the Sashiko as a Japanese Stichery.

It is very challenging to introduce a culture & its practice. It requires a series of Story-Telling & practicing it. However, I do not want to just let the word (Sashiko) go away without original Stories. The New Sashiko Online Course “Introduction to Japanese Sashiko” will teach you a sample of my Sashiko project, start from the beginning and application with sharing what is Sashiko for me, for Japanese, as “Japanese Sashiko”.

What is going on with Atsushi

Some of you here may find this new Sashiko Online Course as “inconsistent” to what I have been saying on Instagram & Youtube. You may wonder why Domestika? How about a (self-published?) Book that I promised to work on? If I were you, I would have so many questions, too.

I do have the answers to your question, of couse. To be honest, this course wasn’t an easy decision. In fact, I was very difficult to many people in Domestika’s Great Team, and I feel bad for them for being so difficult.

In last 5~6 yeares, I have declined almost all offers I receive from publishers, either video or book. It is because I learned that their goal & my goal aren’t always the same. In most cases, the goal is quite different even if we agree on the basic things. I learned it in a pretty painful way, but well… I learned it.

Domestika broke through this fear by sending me many offers with their willingness to understand what I want. The person in charge read most of my Instagram Post, watched as many videos on Youtube, and understood the “limitation” I worry about. It was very different from the others who try to raise “loyalty” to convince me to take the offer. No, that kind of negotiation doesn’t do much to me (Of course, money is very important, but it isn’t the reason to decline): What I want is their willingness to understand what Sashiko is for me.

Again, I am aware that I was very difficult to manage as I kept mentioning this personal code. I know teaching “How-To” is the biggest demand in the trend, but I wanted to go over it, as much as I can. I really appreciate Domestika’s Team for being understanding of this. 

So, I am still the same. I worry if this new Sashiko Online Course may impact me somehow… but my goal is still the same: to pass down (up/across) the Sashiko we have been practicing. I still take very careful steps for “teaching” the culture & its practice. As I feel the need for direct interaction & communication the Online Sashiko Class / In-Person Sashiko Workshop I offer is still the best way to get the “Core & Essence”.

At the same time, I wanted to speak up instead of being silent when the word “Sashiko” walks away from the Japanese Sashiko Artisans. So, with a great help with Domestika, this is the new Online Sashiko Course.

This is my answer to the most asked Question

One of the most frequend asked question I receive is: “What is your recommendation for books? Where should I start Learning Sashiko?“. Before I wrote a blog article about “I have no recommendation”, I received this question almost daily. Well. Unfortunately, my answer to the questions was: “There are no recommendation for books about Sashiko written in English. Therefore I share so many Stories on SNS. You can start watching the videos on Youtube.

I understand this is not what they want to hear. They want to have a “package (a book or a course)” where they can start following without spending time in searching. “Searching” can waste our time, and we all do not like wasting time. Therefore, so many books & courses are available online, and they are quite popular even if an author or a teacher has very limited knowledge & experience in Sashiko.

By offering this New Online Sashiko Course, I can answer to the most frequent asked question: This is the place where you can start learning (Japanese) Sashiko we have been practicing.

More Stories are Comming!