May 02, 2021 at 10:50AM

I hope it is not too much to ask, “Keep learning” when we are interested in something foreign to us regardless of where we are from. I said Sashiko is “primitive”, but (therefore), it isn’t shallow at all. One “defining” what Sashiko is without understanding the language & culture, and telling oneself (others) to “look no further”. Their interpretation becomes the cultural filtration. I feel disgusted when one makes “profit” out of this Simplification, Filtration, and then C/A. Here, I can only talk about Sashiko. However, it happens in many forms in many cultures. I even feel pity for those because they will lose “trust” when the depth is introduced.  n this Internet society where mindful people can reach to the origin, the “fake” will be eventually uncovered. 

Sashiko is relaxing,  is slow stitching. Sashiko is beautiful,  fun, it is (visible/invisible) mending. Sashiko may be a solution of sustainable fashion… all are true statements. However, when one doesn’t understand the Japanese (language & culture), & when they learn it from non-Japanese, these statements can be a result of simplification. Therefore, I say, “they are not wrong but insufficient”. No one needs to “master” the language to enjoy Sashiko. All I am asking is to “keep learning” – by listening to the voice from the people of the culture. Is it too much to ask? Instead of being “satisfied” with a simple & easy definition done by someone for their convenience, I want them to enjoy “the Sashiko” to enrich their practice & learning.




#Sashiko #JapaneseSashiko #SlowStitching #SashikoMending #MeditativeStitching #CulturalAppropriation #刺し子


May 01, 2021 at 12:49PM

Some connect Sashiko to Sustainability. Yes, it is indeed linked. However, I don’t think Sashiko itself can offer the solution to a variety of issues we face today. Sashiko is too “primitive” for that matter. Before romanticizing the (foreign) culture, the proper understanding is very important. 

To be honest, Sashiko itself is not so sophisticated for offering the “innovation” to make the world better. What you may see Sashiko as a solution is one result of people reading what they want to read. However, at the same time, by us (Japanese) continuously sharing what Sashiko really is, I believe we can contribute to “the one” in future who will come up with the solution. 

At this point, all I can do is to support someone I care about. My mother (Keiko), my family in the US, and many Sashiko friends I have met throughout Sashiko Class & Gathering. The most primitive concept in Sashiko is to make your family/friends “alive”. In order to keep “it” sustainable, I would like to make people who I care about happy first. “Happiness” isn’t easy as we say, but I want to be the last one who would feel the pain from Cultural Appropriation in Sashiko – regardless if my family/friends may receive Sashiko as their path. Learn what it is first before romanticizing it. Thank you.



#Sashiko #JapaneseSashiko #Sustainability #SashikoStitching #刺し子


April 27, 2021 at 01:42PM

I was born in a Sashiko family in 1983. In 2008, I started facing Sashiko as “work/business”. Ever since, with many ups and downs, I have been thinking how we can “continue (make it sustainable)” the Sashiko. Recently, I developed the phrase –  “I would like to pass down Sashiko”.

A decade ago, Sashiko described in English made me happy. It was my goal to make Sashiko as a “trend”. Although I wasn’t allowed to “teach” Sashiko officially, I met many good people from all over the world in our store. I even thought – “it is such a fortunate thing that western people introduce Sashiko” after receiving several comments that some western people deserve the respect for translating the culture from Japanese to English. Please don’t get me wrong. I sincerely respect some of them. However, I just cannot keep silent in “filtering” the culture.

It isn’t very Japanese thing to do by saying something straight forward, but here it is. “Sashiko requires a thimble”. Some Sashiko in Japan don’t use thimble, but when one talks about the “general” Sashiko in English, they need to share/teach the use of thimble in order to avoid the filtering. A thimble isn’t optional. It is a must. 

If you aren’t sure about the thimble, please learn from us. Many of our students think the thimble is the must to have in enjoying Sashiko. It is a life-time skill, and that’s how we can pass down the culture of Sashiko. 


#Sashiko #Thimble #SashikoThimble #CulturalAppropriation #JapaneseSashiko #SashikoStitching #刺し子 #指ぬき


April 26, 2021 at 03:06PM

I want you to listen to my/our voice. At the same time, I do not want you to immerse yourself only in my stories. It is always important to keep balance. Defining my word – “There is no such a thing as Right or Wrong in Sashiko” – as the “right description” is already in the weir of dualism. Please listen to & read other Japanese people’s voices. A lecture by Wada-Sensei (@yoshiko_wada_) yesterday was such a great opportunity to learn (It was good to hear that she doesn’t agree with the Sashiko’s “definition” as “Little Stabs”). I believe the series of her lectures is available in archives. Please visit @longhousereserve for the details.

I want you to learn from me. However, I am not so full of myself that what I say/write is the “answer”. Because of the (cultural) difference, even in talking about a fact, we may end up looking at it from a different angle. It is my challenge to learn the culture in which I am sharing “to”. It is my responsibility to learn since I am writing it in English. Therefore, the “Sashiko Talk (Live Streaming)” is a wonderful opportunity to learn & observe me objectively in talking to our Sashiko friends. The Sashiko Live Streaming is all archived on our Youtube Channel. It will probably answer many of your questions. Sashiko is… more than just making beautiful patterns in stitching.



#Sashiko #SashikoStory #SashikoTalk #SashikoLive #SashikoStitching #JapaneseSashiko #刺し子


April 25, 2021 at 01:07PM

While the definition of “authentic” is not so clear (to me), it is difficult to prove the authenticity. To be honest, I do not even feel the need to prove it. All I do is to share the stories – the stories I have been receiving & experiencing. 

The more I share the stories, the less I can stitch. The more I stitch, the less I can share the stories. As of now, I prioritize the story-telling because the Sashiko I know is becoming (or has become) something filtered & twisted. I would like to protect what my mother (Keiko as a genius Sashiko artisan) does. I would like to rebuild the future of many Sashiko friends I have. 

Anyone can be anything on this Internet. It is us who needs to distinguish the authentic and fake. It is scary because the fake looks more authentic by their marketing & advertisement. How it looks is more important than what it is. Therefore… I keep sharing my “unedit” version of stitching. It is “Sashiko Talk (Sashiko LiveStreaming)”. I am a real person who stitches in front of the camera without any “edit”. I offer it every 2 weeks on Sunday night. It is tonight at 9 pm EDT. Please join us & enjoy Sashiko stitching. 




#Sashiko #SashikoTalk #SashikoLiveStreaming #JapaneseSashiko #SashikoStitching #刺し子


April 24, 2021 at 02:43PM

If you enjoy Shibori in English, you would know her name for sure. I have been learning from Wada-sensei (@yoshiko_wada_) a lot about not only Japanese textile but also Sashiko & Boro from her approach. She is offering a special Talk tomorrow on April 25th (Sunday) @longhousereserve with the theme of #NuiProject & Sashiko. It is another great opportunity to learn from a Japanese who are well educated in the topic. 

I want you to listen to my voice. However, it is “my” voice. It is very important to listen to the other Japanese who practice Sashiko, and be knowledgeable for Boro & Textile. Information about Sashiko & Boro in English is still insufficient. The Japanese do not deliver their voice in English so often. In order to communicate in English, the understanding of English as both language & culture is quite important. Wada-Sensei is well experienced in all of the categories. I will be watching her talk & will learn something new tomorrow as well. For the ticket, please check the Long-House account above and check their link.

英語圏で「Shibori」をされていて 、きっと和田先生の名前を知らない方はいないはず……という程の著名な方と、最近お付き合いをさせて頂いております。本当に有り難いことです。明日、英語ではありますが、その和田先生がZoomで講演会をされる予定です。僕も拝聴する予定です。楽しみ。


#Sashiko #yoshikowada #slowfiberstudios #SashikoStitching #JapaneseSashiko #刺し子


April 23, 2021 at 01:58PM

“How to care & respect” is a difficult topic. One saying “I care about your culture” isn’t really enough. “Care & Respect” can be validated by action – not by just words. Words are, of course, important. However, if they support the people who appropriate the culture (directly/indirectly) because of the better deal, convenience, or appearance, then their “action” is contributing to the pain. As I keep saying, please be mindful who you are supporting by your decision. 

In my understanding of the Japanese culture, we really do not verbalize “care & respect”. In English, it is very important to express how we feel in words like “I love you”. I do not know many Japanese families who say “I love you” every single day. Instead, we act. If I care for someone, I take action. The Japanese may think it isn’t so “sophisticated” that we have to verbalize their emotions. It is natural to act when we care enough. I appreciate kind words. However, the kind words without action “can” be emotionally stabbing me while them being nice to me. It is unfortunate for everyone on the same stage.



#Sashiko #Shokunin #SupportSashiko #CulturalAppropriation #JapaneseSashiko #SashikoStitching #刺し子 #職人


April 22, 2021 at 02:27PM

Regardless of my fear(pain) in Cultural Appropriation in Sashiko, I am happy to see many people get to know what Sashiko is. Although some information may be filtered/twisted, those who respect the origin will eventually reach the stories. After all, what I would like to do is to pass down the culture. Your understanding & interest is very important, and I appreciate it. 

One of the distortions we experience in the trend is “the value change”. It is simple economics – demand and supply. The price tag we see on the Japanese Kofu (vintage fabric) is unbelievable. Once they were “trash”, now they are valuable. Isn’t it kind of funny?

Many ask me what is the “Good Kofu”. It is a difficult question because “it depends” on what they are looking for. For Sashiko, there are 3 check-points to define if it is Good Kofu (for Sashiko). (1) Is it washable? (2) Is the damage/worn naturally done? (3) Is the fabric “usable”? As I shared the concept of Yo Soku Bi yesterday, the beauty comes from “using” it. In order to make a good “Boro to be”, the journey starts from finding Good Kofu pieces. (I sometimes list Kofu in our store. For my business, please follow @upcyclestitches).


#Sashiko #JapaneseSashiko #SashikoStitching #Yoshokubi #Kofu #VintageFabric #JapaneseVintage #刺し子 #古布


April 21, 2021 at 09:51AM

We can find many kinds of descriptions about Sashiko in English. “Slow-stitching”, “Beauty in Imperfection”, “Meditative Stitching”… and you know better than I do. All of these are not “wrong”, but they are insufficient by themselves. Before defining what is “the sufficient Sashiko description”, it is critical to understand the concept of “用即美 – Yo-Soku-Bi” in Japanese Mingei. 

The Japanese found the beauty in the ordinary (not only in imperfection) – and they categorized it as “the beauty in Usage (in the ordinary days)”. There are many crafts found in this Mingei-Movement, and that’s the base concept of the Aesthetic Sense in Sashiko. (Please look up our website for terminology, like Mingei and such).

“The beauty in Usage”. That’s the reason we mainly make something we can use instead of put it on the wall. There is nothing wrong with making a tapestry or framing Sashiko as an Art piece. However, without understanding the base concept, the culture becomes something different. Therefore, I say “Sashiko in English isn’t wrong, but insufficient”. If you are to share/teach Sashiko to someone, please keep “learning” – and let your students know there are more (Do not let you students feel that they do not need to learn further, please).

英語圏で刺し子をしていると「刺し子は芸術だ」とか「額縁に入れて飾りたい」とお褒めの言葉を頂くことがあります。嬉しいのですが、同時に「美」 としての刺し子の出発点も知って欲しいなと思うのです。刺し子を額縁に入れることは全く問題ないと思っています。僕自身もするし。ただ、「用即美 – 用いて即ち美しい」という概念が、刺し子の根底にあることを知った上で楽しんで欲しいなと思うのです。僕達が基本ジャケットやバッグばかりを作るには、こういう理由があります。タペストリーや飾るものを作らないという訳ではありません。ただ、やっぱり「使いたい&着たい」と思ってもらえるものを作りたいなと思うのです。

#Sashiko #JapaneseSashiko #SashikoStitching #Yoshokubi #Mingei #TeachingSashiko #CulturalAppropriation #刺し子 #民藝運動 #用即美


April 20, 2021 at 10:42AM

When I write about the “language” difference, some read it superficially as if I am excluding non-Japanese. They say, “So you are saying we need to be fluent in Japanese to enjoy Sashiko?”. No, I am NOT saying it at all.

You do not need the Japanese language to enjoy/practice Sashiko. Only thing I am asking is the respect/care for the Japanese culture (voice). When they are trying to learn the “mindset”, I am fine with them teaching Sashiko. Only thing I would find uncomfortable is to “twist(repaint)” the culture. When a Sashiko teacher leaves the impression to students that they do not need to “look further” in Sashiko after the workshop, then it is a problem. All of my class ends saying “This is the start of their Sashiko”. A big difference in mindset & approach. 

Sashiko isn’t so difficult to be good at. However, it isn’t shallow as the non-Japanese can “complete” on behalf of us. Summarizing/Simplifying Sashiko into “the one answer” with filtering numbers of diversified style is a form of twisting & repainting the culture – and when it is done with intentional ignorance & for the profit, then it is Cultural Appropriation. 

As I always say, “Caring & Respect” will differentiate Appreciation from Appropriation – not what you can do, it is how you approach it (although it would be great to try to learn the Japanese).


#Sashiko #JapaneseSashiko #SashikoStitching #Japanese #TeachingSashiko #CulturalAppropriation #刺し子