Kogin Sashiko

Kogin Sashiko | Another Ramification of Sashiko

Sashiko is a broad term for needleworks developed in Japan. Kogin Sashiko (SashiKogin) is one of the well-known ramifications of Sashiko. Although I do not practice Kogin Sashiko, I am a big fan of its pattern and beauty. This is an introductory article about the difference between Kogin Sashiko and the Sashiko Stitching I perform (some Japanese call it Gushinui).


Before jumping into the explanation, please read the analogy of “Pizza in the USA“, which I often use to explain what Sashiko is. It may help you to understand how I understand Sashiko.


The photos of Kogin are provided by @1005coma (Instagram).


Kogin Sashiko and Sashiko Stitching


Kogin Sashiko was developed in Aomori Prefecture and surrounded areas of the Northern part of Japan. The origin of Kogin Sashiko is to fill in the gap of rough Hemp Fabric that they had to wear even during the severe winter. The cotton fabric was too expensive for the ordinary farmers in the Northern part of Japan to wear. Therefore, the wisdom of Sashiko developed to make hemp fabric warmer by stitching with cotton thread.

Because of this tradition, the needle for Kogin is not sharp. It is purposefully made to be the dull top needle. The other Sashiko stitching usually requires the very sharp needle to minimize the damage to the cotton fabric, yet Kogin Sashiko requires the dull top needle to scoop the gap in between the hemp fabric.


Kogin Sashiko 1
A Sample of Kogin / Hishi Sashiko to fill the Gap of rough Hemp fabric.
Kogin Sashiko Sashiko Running Stitch
A Sample of Sashiko Stitching | Creating the patterns with running stitch.


Kogin Sashiko and Sashiko Stitching are both needleworks with “caring” someone and supporting their ordinary lives. Both of them are the wisdom of making ordinary days a bit easier.


4 Key concepts of Sashiko are…

They stitched for

  • Make fabric warmer
  • strengthen the Fabric
  • Repair & mend Fabric
  • Decorate fabric under the severe or challenging condition to do so.


As you have read my analogy of Pizza and Sashiko, it is not about which is right Sashiko or not. I have the honor to get to know some of great Kogin Sashiko artists live in Japan. More photos and more explanation will be online accordingly.


Kogin Sashiko and Hishizashi (Hishi Sashiko)


The category of Kogin Sashiko has many kinds in its culture. I will study the difference more and introduce the characters of each Sashiko in the Nothern part of Japan.


As of now, let me introduce the most obvious distinguish the Japanese uses.

  • Kogin Sashiko: The patterns are made based on the counting of the Odd numbers.
  • Hishi Sashiko: The patterns are made based on the counting of the Even numbers.


I assume the description above doesn’t make sense by just explaining it in the text. By collaborating many Kogin artists in Japan, I will translate and introduce the Kogin Sashiko and Hishi Sashiko with more photos. If you are interested, please leave your comment here. The more I receive the feedback and comments, the faster (the more serious) I will work on the articles.


For this introduction, I wanted to share the difference between Kogin Sashiko and the regular Sashiko Stitching. Both very beautiful, but not the same.


Photos of both beautiful Sashiko culture


Please understand that the article is not about judging which is better or not. I practice the Sashiko stitching, and am proud of what I do. It is merely a matter of preferences. This website, UpcylceStitches.com, is for sharing the culture of the beautiful Japanese hand-stitching culture.


Kogin Sashiko Sample