March 09, 2023 at 07:48PM

Sashiko is simple. This is a true statement. However, from a teaching perspective, there is a big difference between me saying it & someone non-Japanese saying it even if the statement itself is the exact same. I welcome everyone to enjoy Sashiko. As much as I appreciate the worries & concern for Cultural Appropriation (C/A), I do not want C/A to limit their creativity & fun. Therefore, in order to keep it this way, it is very important to be mindful of whom we are learning Sashiko, or anything for that matter, from.

I “assume” they say “Sashiko is Simple” , associating it with its ease of stitching. Well, it is easy to enjoy Sashiko – but it is extremely difficult to teach the “simplicity” of Sashiko. When a teacher confuses the words “simple” and “easy”, then the C/A issue occurs. In general terms, I understand C/A applies to anyone who “consumes” it. For me, who still is learning what “consume” means in this line of definition, it is a matter of “Responsibility”. I have never met any Japanese Sashiko artisans, or masters with many decades say they know about Sashiko. None. They always specify “which” Sashiko they are representing – it is the sense of responsibility to protect their own Sashiko, and another responsibility (care) to preserve(respect) others. I never say & will say I understand “The Sashiko” – never use fancy words such as “supreme”, “ultimate”, “the whole”, “concluding”… you name it.

As I am not so smart, I would like to keep things simple. I want you to enjoy Sashiko. If you worry about C/A, then don’t worry about it. Call it Sashiko if you want. Just be mindful of whom you are learning from – where the upstream of teachers’ teacher. If they think they know enough about Sashiko saying “Sashiko is Simple (Easy)” or worse “just because”… then, they may be “rewriting” the culture, with or without (good) intentions. I do not want to experience it again.


#Sashiko #JapaneseSashiko #刺し子


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