April 17, 2021 at 11:09AM

I have received several happy notes that they found my article on the latest PieceWork Magazine (Summer 2021 issue) about Sashiko & its diversity. I still don’t have the copy on my hand, and I will introduce the details when I actually have it. I just wanted to share that this is my official first “published” contribution with compensation. 

I cannot thank the PieceWork team enough. English is my second language. I never got out of Japan until the age of 19. Therefore, my writing can be very strange (and wrong) for native writers. There are many grammatical mistakes (not on purpose). I do not follow some “rules” in writing (on purpose). However, usually, when an editor reads my writing, they try to “re-write” on my behalf with good intention. Instead of making corrections, they often (not always) try to rewrite the whole sentence with the contents they thought they understood. Unfortunately, it often loses the “point”. I understand. It is MUCH easier to rewrite than adjusting the errors. I almost gave up & focused on improving my English. The PieceWork team, however, didn’t change my writing style much. I still don’t know how they did it, but I took it as their understanding of the diversity – different cultures – and therefore, I felt they respected Sashiko. (my conclusion was the editor is simply a genius). Philosophy & practice of Sashiko is there → https://ift.tt/3tseA5L. ☆


#Sashiko #JapaneseSashiko #PieceWork #SashikoMagazine #SashikoStitching #Unshin #運針 #刺し子


April 16, 2021 at 12:37PM

When I say “Sashiko/Boro is NOT ◯◯” or mention about Cultural Appropriation, some automatically start defending themselves. As you know, I am NOT excluding anyone. I just want them to “know” more. This may be an extreme analogy, but again, let’s use pizza. If one is enjoying “frozen pizza” and spreading the info it is “THE pizza (as a whole culture)”, wouldn’t you want to share the favorite pizza restaurant you have in your neighborhood? There is Nothing wrong with frozen pizza – but it cannot represent the whole pizza.

I am welcoming you to learn Sashiko & Boro. However, since it is deeply related to the unfamiliar culture for you, it will take a long time to fully understand. I wish I could give you the answer “Sashiko/Boro is ◯◯” as other teachers/books do… but it isn’t that shallow. Therefore, I ask to “keep” learning & “doubt” what you know. I am here to share. I offer workshops to support your learning. Once you “start” learning, call your stitching “Sashiko/Boro” or “◯◯-Inspired”. It won’t hurt me because you listen & try to not to “change” the culture by ignoring the voice. You do not need to be a “master” to call your stitching Sashiko. However, if you decide to ignore the voice from Japanese for your convenience, I will speak up no matter how good you are in stitching. It isn’t about how good you can stitch. It is about how you “appropriate” the culture you do not understand fully. It isn’t about Skill or knowledge. It is about “know what you don’t know” to avoid Cultural Appropriation – if you are referring the foreign culture.

(By learning Sashiko in a “good form”, your stitching will get better & even anyway.)



#Sashiko #JapaneseSashiko #SashikoStitching #CulturalAppropriation #Thimble #Unshin #刺し子


April 15, 2021 at 10:09AM

“Boro is not something we make – it is something we raise (rear/bring-up)”. For us, there is no such a thing as “the completion” of Boro. Boro exists in the usage, and therefore the completion of Boro equals to the end of the fabric. We just enjoy a dot (moment) of its history of Boro.

We can find photos of “Boro-Inspired” pieces. Some seem like a patchwork with bright colored (recycled) fabric swatches. Some use a file to damage the fabric, and call it Boro. Some enjoy Boro under the food (which I find disgusting). I believe they use the word “inspired” to avoid troubles. They know they are using the foreign word, and I appreciate their choice of distinguishing the “Boro” and “Borough-Inspired”. However, I often wonder, what are they “inspired” by? The look of Boro? The idea of Boro? 

“Boro is a technique to mend/recycle the unwanted fabric” is not a correct statement from many perspectives. When I say, “It is incorrect”, many ask me “Then you have the responsibility to explain”. Yes, that’s what I have been doing for 2 years here and there. Boro is not a word for technique. Boro isn’t about using “whatever” fabric to recycle. It is something to “appreciate” what we have & grow (together).



#Sashiko #JapaneseSashiko #JapaneseBoro #SashikoStory #Boro #日本の刺し子 #刺し子 #襤褸 #ぼろ


April 14, 2021 at 12:53PM

Exciting Announcement – A small group tour focusing on Japanese Textile and Sashiko with Atsushi is happening in May, 2022.

It is my sincere pleasure to share this announcement. The beginning of 2021, an experienced Japanese tour guide, Koshiki-san (@tanpopostudio) contacted us for the possibility of collaboration in the Textile Tour in Japan. After careful & joyful conversations with her over time, I have decided to join the tour as an accompanying Sashiko/Boro Guide. The participants will have all of my time to deepen their understanding of Our Sashiko and other Sashiko in Japan on top of many workshops/visits to unique & exclusive places where Koshiki-san has arranged. Not only the technique, you will learn, feel, taste, touch, and of course “stitch” from cultural aspects. I cannot express enough how unique this tour will be. For the details, please visit their registration page. Also, by signing up our newsletter, you will get more information over the Spring/Summer in 2021. Koshiki-san and I will bring you many happy surprises.

The Tour Detail → https://ift.tt/2PTONFn (@tanpopostudio)

Newsletter – via https://ift.tt/32gKm9X



#Sashiko #SashikoTour #JapaneseSashiko #TanpopoTour #UpcycleStitches #刺し子


April 13, 2021 at 12:34PM

Sashiko is getting popular as “Meditative Stitching”. Some may call it “mindfulness”. I see others calling it “Zen Stitching”. Well, since Sashiko & Zen are both Japanese, let’s raise a question. Can you describe the difference between Zen and Mindfulness?

There is a significant difference between Zen in Japan & Mindfulness in Western Culture (Let’s say, in the world map where Japan is far east, anywhere west from Asia is “Western” – I will elaborate this & sorry for the sloppy definition of “western”). As always, the difference itself isn’t about good or bad. Using the word without “trying” to understand is dangerous. 

Sashiko can be all of Mindful-stitching, Meditative-Stitching, and Zen-Stitching. It is my sincere pleasure to see my students enjoying Zen-Stitching after my workshop. I was going to share the stories of difference on Instagram… but since it will be several pages long, I will share it on Patreon (then excerpt some of the whole story here).


#Sashiko #SashikoStitching #JapaneseSashiko #ZenStitching #MindfulStitching #MeditativeStitching #mindfulness #Zen #刺し子 #般若心経 #禅


April 12, 2021 at 03:13PM

I had another great Live Streaming on Youtube (I call it “Sashiko Talk”). Big thanks to @scsarchet for being my conversation partner to enrich our learning. The more we talk, the more “difference” we realize. When we communicate at the Superficial level to “spend time” together, the profound understanding of each culture isn’t so critical. However, when we need to share something more deep such as emotion, or even more, when one decides to talk about the foreign culture on behalf of the others, then understanding the difference is very critical. I am not saying one needs to understand the culture profoundly or perfectly – but they really realize & communicate that there are differences instead of pretending (communicating) that they know the foreign culture. At the worst, it ends up with minimizing or erasing the culture by ignoring the differences. 

Even in 2 hours of Online Live Streaming, we could share the cultural differences between the US and Japan in many topics. That’s how we are different. The difference is great. Therefore, I want you to listen to the Japanese when you would like to use the Japanese words. Ultimately, that’s all I am asking. I believe our Live Streaming is becoming a great resource to understand the cultural differences not only in Sashiko, but in many other categories. I will get better in organizing & filming the Live as well. (https://www.youtube.com/c/sashico)


Sashiko Talk という英語版刺し子配信をすることで、この文化の違いがいい感じに学べる場所になってきている気がします。僕自身、毎回学びだらけです。「How are you?」の返事は、「I am fine, Thank you.」 と習ったと思います。これ、定型文で、「実は元気じゃないんだ……」と真実を返すは、文化的にNGだったりします(笑)なんだそりゃ……と思われるとは思いますが、日本文化も同様に面倒です。やっぱり深い。なんか人生かけた壮大な事に挑んでる気がします。

#Sashiko #JapaneseSashiko #SashikoStitching #SashikoLive #JapaneseCulture #刺し子 #刺し子配信


April 11, 2021 at 12:22PM

In the FB Group where I am the admin, I received a very important reply to my explanation. It was: “When you use words in anger, it can be misunderstood by Americans, who find it offensive. This is not Japan!”. Well. These 2 sentences literally indicate the issues I am experiencing.  

In FB & IG, where I am the admin, I want it to be as “Japanese” as possible. SNS is borderless. It is neither Japan or America. Therefore, I specify everywhere my message: this is “space by the Japanese for the Japanese culture (Sashiko/Boro)”. Therefore, I say, please take off the shoes, before addressing their “right”. 

Also, their reply minimizes the pain (anger) of the C/A or other issues by minorities. Since Americans will find it offensive, the minorities have to be quiet (say nothing)? It is not about “misunderstanding” what I write/speak as they say. My voice is “Filtered” by their privilege.

If you are an American here, I am so sorry that they spoke on your behalf. I respect America where my daughter identifies herself. I know you are a lot better than this (therefore you are reading this). However, please also be advised that “ignorance like this” happens, unfortunately, kind of “often”. It usually is not as obvious as this reply on FB. (Photo is based on my hope of good mixture of US & Japan – Cupcake & Sashiko).



#Sashiko #JapaneseSashiko #JapaneseBoro #SashikoStitching #刺し子 #日本人の刺し子


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.


#Sashiko #JapaneseSashiko #SashikoStitching #CulturalAppropriation #刺し子


April 07, 2021 at 12:50PM

Cultural Appropriation is a very sensitive, and difficult topic to discuss. One says, “This is Cultural Appreciation” and other say “No, it is Cultural Appropriation”. Although I am still learning, there is one thing I can share on this – “The voice/pain is real”. Pain cannot be defined by majority decision. If there is even one with pain by someone’s ignorance, then I would like to support them. It is heartbreaking to see @albstoffe minimizing a voice from @made.by.yuki and others.

I cannot/shouldn’t talk on behalf of other Japanese, besides the topic of Sashiko/Boro. I am not educated enough to talk about textile design and textile marketing. “Personally”, naming a Japanese word for the product/business is NOT so painful “TO ME” When They Try to understand/respect the culture behind it. That’s the whole story about my story of Cultural Appropriation in Sashiko (check the video on Youtube). Here, since “Sakura” is used for their branding, I share how “respecting or wrong” it can be to use the word “Sakura” for their profit. I will make an article on Patreon available for while to share deeper insight. (https://ift.tt/3rVHCsX)

As Sashiko is more than a translation of “Little Stabs”, Sakura is more than a mere word for us. Sakura trees can be Sacred for the Japanese. It is okay that they didn’t know. They can learn today, then apply it with appreciation. The issue is “intentional ignorance”. Cultural Appropriation happens when one intentionally ignores the voice from the people in that culture. “Caring” is a boundary between Appreciation & Appropriation. 



#Sashiko #JapaneseSashiko #SashikoStitching #CulturalAppropriation #Sakura #桜 #刺し子


April 06, 2021 at 09:45AM

18 Sashiko artisans contributed their piece to make this one beautiful Jacket. I say, “All different, All Good”. There is no such a thing as “Absolute Answer” in Sashiko. However, when we learn the specific posture, the Sashiko result can be unified without discomfort. They are all different, but somewhat similar. 

The jacket explains the beauty of these differences & possibility of unifying. This is what Sashiko, and hand-stitching can do. I am very fortunate to have 18 artisans & proud of what we could do to Sashiko culture.

(As of now, I wrote a series of blog articles introducing the 18 Sashiko artisans each piece, and the rough process of making the Jacket. I will try to translate the series little by little.)




#Sashiko #Asanoha #Sakura #JapaneseSashiko #SashikoJacket #Handmade #Unshin #NoragiJacket #刺し子 #運針会 #桜