My Sashiko Story _ Cover

My Sashiko Story | 1. Care & Respect to others

It is my great honor that you are reading this article from millions of articles about Sashiko. I decided to write how I think about Sashiko as my Sashiko Story.

In 2017, I started introducing Sashiko in earnest. You may have seen some of my achievements on Youtube, Japanese TV Channel, or other online media including this website. My goal is to share what Sashiko is to pass down the culture of Sashiko to the next generation. As much as I would like to share “how” to do Sashiko, I also would like to introduce “why” we do Sashiko. Here is a series of my Sashiko Story.

 

Caring. The core of My Sashiko Story

 

Sashiko is (was) an ordinary daily work for the ordinary Japanese people.

I believe that the Japanese moved their needles with thinking about their family, especially those who would wear the Jacket outside. Sashiko was developed because of their poverty. The Japanese in the rural village didn’t have enough fabric to make the new Jacket for husbands. Instead of the wives make the clean, strong and neat Jacket for them, they repaired with their needle works, with caring the health and wellbeing of loving one.

 

We still do not have the sold definition for Sashiko (& Boro).

As long as my understanding goes, Sashiko is a form of simple needlework & process of stitching, then Boro is a result of repeating Sashiko. In other words, Sashiko is a process of caring others and appreciating what we have. Boro is a gift from these caring. Even small decorative stitches make me warm since I know someone hand stitch it.

*The Boro facebook Group I joined gave me an opportunity to think about it, and it is the reason I am writing my sashiko story.

 

It is not so much important “how” Sashiko items or Boro were made.

I like Sashiko because I can see the “care” people put into it. They had a good reason to enjoyed, or simply did, Sashiko for someone, or for themselves.

 

Of course, Sashiko is not all about beautiful stories. Above, I cut slice a beautiful part of Sashiko & Boro culture, which is “Appreciate and Care.” In contrast, there are many stories which include human-like feeling such as “greed” “envy” and “shame”, but I understand many cultures have both aspects. I will introduce some of the stories from both aspects accordingly.

 

Regardless, we do not have much “reasons” to “repair” in 2018. It is economically reasonable to purchase new fabric than repairing them. It is much efficient to use a sewing machine than making a hand-stitching. I would like to share the stories of why we enjoy Sashiko stitching as well as how to enjoy Sashiko stitching more.

 

It is all about “mending.”

This is from my Instagram Live Streaming in Japanese.

I talk a lot on many topics, but one of the topics I realized while I was actually saying is what we do throughout Sashiko is all about “mending”.

 

The Japanese used to do Sashiko to fulfill the needs of fabrics. It was to mend their cloth.

We now enjoy Sashiko to fulfill something we are losing. It is to mend our mind.

 

I believe the Japanese in the past also enjoyed Sashiko to fulfill something mindfulness. It is not a discussion of Black or White, which is more Western way of thinking. The Japanese appreciate the thinking of “Gray” which we call “中道{Chu-do- | the middle way)”. The way of thinking without dualism. Therefore, I keep saying there isn’t such a thing as “Right” or “Wrong” in Sashiko.

 

After all, it is all about respect to others.

 

My Sashiko Story _ Respect

 

Alright. There is no Right or Wrong in Sashiko. Well… Then, you may question yourself that:

If there is no Right or Wrong, we can do whatever we want in Sashiko and Boro?

 

The answer is Yes. You may do whatever you would like to by using your creativity and passion.

I respect and appreciate all of the translators, interpreters, and practitioners of Sashiko in many places all over the world. I enjoy some unique interpretation of Sashiko culture. Some of the work inspires me in making my Sashiko arts. As Sashiko wasn’t for anyone, even in 2018, Sashiko is not owned by anyone and we can do whatever we would like to do.

 

One thing, however, I would like to share is that the Sashiko is developed based on the concept of “respect,” especially for those who practiced Sashiko for a long time. In other words, I would like to share how important it is to respect the tradition.

 

A person may interpret however she/he wants to and do Sashiko.

However, the result will be very different if he knows and respects the tradition behind it.

 

It goes to the “Sashiko Industries”, too.

There are many suppliers, manufacturers, and businesses jumping into the Sashiko Market. Every time there is a “hand-craft” trend, they start creating the products line-up. However, when the boom is gone, they also take these items down since it wouldn’t be economically viable. I do not feel the respect from these suppliers.

Instead of those suppliers, I want Sashiko practitioners to be smart customers in purchasing and getting the products. Unfortunately, because of us being so mindless, many good Japanese traditional artisans had to close their operations. It is mainly because they didn’t have enough customers to pass their operation down to next generation.

 

It is an on-going process.

The long-established artisans are getting old, and most of them do not have the next person who takes over their traditions. We, as a Sashiko family business, is one of that. I had thought of closing our business so many times. I am only able to offer the service and products thanks to my family, and a Sashiko genius, my mother Keiko Futatsuya.

 

Sashiko is not only about “how to stitch” but also “how we would like to keep the culture”, I believe.

I respect, and sincerely appreciate the people who are part of our activities in Japan. They are all great in their tradition, and without them, I don’t think I can keep my Sashiko journey. Thread manufacture, Needle manufacture, Textile artisans, Dye artisans, and much more people who respect each other, and most importantly respect themselves.

 

I would like to welcome you to this beautiful, caring community, throughout Sashiko stitching.

My Sashiko Story will continue. Thank you for reading,

 

Link to other my Sashiko Story:

  1. Care & Respect Others

 

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