October 11, 2021 at 08:49PM

I received a comment summarizing my situation well. It is an unfortunate misunderstanding based on cultural differences. Since I often receive similar criticism (usually not nicely summarized like this, but with more anger), here is clarification.

The Comment is: ““If I were to practice Sashiko techniques as a non-Japanese, my efforts are inauthentic by default. At best inspired imitation. I cannot therefore “seek authenticity” in my own work, and certainly not with importation of materials.””

I don’t think so, and I never said so. As any non-Japanese can enjoy Sashiko, anyone can be “authentic” if they try to. I don’t even see the need of distinguishing what is authentic or not. If one wants to be authentic, then they just try to learn more. This may not make sense in dualism culture because the value is “Authentic” or “Imitation”. Many get angry with me because of what they think I say. In reality, all I am asking is to “acknowledge” and “care to learn” more so that we can avoid the Cultural Filtration. 

I know it is difficult to feel natural about it. Therefore, I ask them to take my Sashiko Class. I believe many graduates understand what I mean above by practicing Sashiko as we do. When one thinks Sashiko is (just) a technique, it is probably difficult to understand fully. “Sashiko Thread” isn’t only a vehicle to be authentic. It’s not that complicated. I simply need the thread for our Sashiko, and I would like to protect the small manufacturers. I believe, none of my Sashiko friends woud say “whatever thread is fine” because they know the threads change their experience. Needle, thimble, fabric… everything we use is key to enjoy Sashiko:  I want to protect them from those who do not know anything about Sashiko but trying to make money out of “just words, not practice”. 

Please don’t label your stitching so easily. Authentic, Traditional, Inspired, Imitated…Sashiko can exist without labeling. Therefore, I say no “right or wrong”. Your Sashiko can be authentic when you learn. My Sashiko can be fake when I stop caring. Sashiko exists outside of dualism, and therefore I speak up.





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