June 06, 2021 at 12:47PM

I share many stories. I want you to read every post before “Reacting:, but here is a roughly condensed message: Sashiko introduced in English is NOT wrong but insufficient. I feel fear of someone non-Japanese making the “insufficient description of Sashiko” as a whole culture by ignoring/filtering voices from Japan(ese).  

Here is an extreme analogy from my own experience. My wife (back then girlfriend), from Israel, introduced me to a great Middle Eastern dish, “Hummus”. I did not know about Hummus until I met her. I love Hummus. Although my understanding is limited, I wanted to introduce this dish to my family in Japan. So I got a recipe. In Japan, unfortunately, I couldn’t get “Tahini”. I “googled”. Then, I found a recipe using Yogurt instead of Tahini. I made “Hummus without Tahini” for my family. It didn’t taste like the hummus I enjoyed, but for my family, what I made was the whole picture of hummus they could know.

The story ends without any harm because my family wouldn’t teach how to make hummus to others. Their “encounter” to the hummus ends at the dinner I offered. What if… though, if my family who think Tahini is optional to make “all the hummus” decided to open a Middle Eastern Restaurant in Japan – and they are very good at marketing to the extent that many Japanese start believing Tahini is an optional ingredient for Hummus…? Isn’t the culture of hummus repainted by them? Hummus without tahini is not Wrong, but insufficient when one teaches about the Hummus.

Please replace “hummus” with the word you feel attached to. It is Sashiko for me. I understand each culture has their own hummus: a Japanese ruling that “Tahini is optional” can be very dangerous in changing the culture. If I were to teach about Hummus as an expert, I would need to learn their language as well. Otherwise, I will filter the Culture ignoring voices in their language. Talking about Hummus as a part of “Food in the word” doesn’t require the language itself, but if one promotes themselves as an expert, then the profit comes with a responsibility. 


#Sashiko #JapaneseSashiko


June 05, 2021 at 09:13PM

Thank you very much for all the comments you have made to my previous question (post). I am learning a lot, and appreciate your view. I am sorry that I cannot reply all, but I read them all. Here is supplemental information.

I am NOT saying all the teachers who teach a topic related to Japanese culture have to be fluent in Japanese. The point is, “Are they sure what they teach is valid? Isn’t it filtered by someone who benefits from the modification?”. Without the language ability, it can be difficult to “confirm” the validity because the resource will be limited.

The same goes to me. How do you know what I teach is “real”? Being Japanese itself will not validate anything that I teach in Sashiko. How do they know I am “valid”? Therefore, I share as many stories as possible (stories require experience). Therefore, I share my “real-time” stitching so no faking the stitches. Therefore, I ask my Japanese friends to check what I say periodically (mainly in Live). I know I am sharing “my truth” – but I would like to make sure that I do not minimize the other Sashiko artisans in Japan. 

When we can trust the resource, then language isn’t the priority. For example, if you have a Japanese parent, and they force you to follow some Japanese culture (I am sorry for that), then your understanding of Japanese culture is sufficient even without language. 

Today, The Internet can offer you various valid answers – we can choose the answer from both extremes. We can modify the answer based on our preference. Therefore, my question arises. I believe (hope) most of the information available is valid (not Wrong). However, when one teaches the Sashiko as “a whole”, then how do they validate they are teaching the whole practice without the language ability? Teaching comes with responsibility, especially when the teacher focuses on specific cultural topics associated with names.


#Sashiko #JapaneseSashiko


June 05, 2021 at 11:21AM

This is a question for non-Japanese people out of my curiosity. What is your “standard” to trust a teacher or a master? 

The work pieces, the publications, and the title (like Ph.D) are good benchmarks. However, wouldn’t you expect a master of Japanese culture to be able to speak (fluent) Japanese…? At least, I would expect a master of Western culture in Japan to be able to speak English… When I meet an authentic Italian chef, I expect them to learn from a master in Italy while living in Italy. For some reasons, in crafting, anyone seems to be a “teacher” or a “lecturer” without proper understanding of the culture. Is this because the “masters in crafting” underestimate the audience/students? I don’t understand how & why.

I do not consider myself a master/artist. I am learning how to teach & what is Art. At the same time, being Japanese does not qualify me to be a teacher/lecturer by itself. Therefore, I share stories here. Therefore, I share my “unedit version” of stitching in Live Streaming (Youtube) so that people can expect what they can learn from me. ALL of my western friends who are in a profession of Japanese Culture can speak fluent Japanese – and they all say their Japanese is nonproficient & their understanding of the culture is insufficient. I am not saying one needs to master Japanese language to enjoy Sashiko. I just don’t understand how “one” is chosen, for what qualification, to teach something they don’t know fully.

This leads to another question as well: do we all have to learn English to protect the culture from Cultural Appropriation? 


#Sashiko #JapaneseSashiko #CulturalAppropriation #刺し子


June 04, 2021 at 02:58PM

I guess the biggest misunderstanding in Sashiko is that people think Sashiko is a mending technique. Although “mending” is a very important part of Sashiko practice, the mending itself is NOT a principle. “Making Fabric Stronger/Warmer (in harsh conditions with limited resources)” is the principle of Sashiko – therefore, Sashiko thread matters – therefore, we use geometric patterns – therefore, we take “process” seriously. Sashiko was(is) a piece of wisdom (practice in the ordinary) to make fabric last long from the ordinary wear and tear. Therefore, although mending is a part of Sashiko, damaging fabric for mending purposes is completely opposite of Sashiko’s philosophy. One is trying to prolong the fabric life. One is intentionally damaging the fabric. I hope you see how “twisted/filtered” the culture is introduced. If one claims they know about Japanese culture, then they should speak up (not knowing is okay, but some intentionally do not for their convenience). – *before reacting, read the previous posts – I am not criticizing the value of “distressed fabric”. 



#Sashiko #JapaneseSashiko #Mending #SashikoMending #SashikoStitching #刺し子 #日本人の刺し子


June 03, 2021 at 03:56PM

Thank you for all the comments about “Kintsugi”. I now learn that some people practice “Kintsugi” by breaking the pottery pieces on-purpose. 

I am not criticizing those who break pieces on purpose at all. Crashing ceramics for creating something new can be a beautiful way to express one’s artistry. Although I do not prefer distressed denim, there is nothing wrong with damaging the fabric on purpose. It is fashion. It is their way to enjoy(enrich) life. I do respect their choices and creations.

The pain (C/A) occurs when they mix their choice with foreign words(culture) with (intentional) ignorance. Breaking/damaging items for the purpose of practicing the culture (Kintsugi or Sashiko) is also fine. Teaching(profiting from) others the culture as if they know the whole picture while ignoring their lack of understanding is the problem. “Cherry Picking” is a very serious cultural concern. This isn’t even picking a good part of the culture – it is just repainting the culture to the color they like (or probably this is the cherry picking in the cultural discussion?)



#Sashiko #JapaneseSashiko #SashikoStitching #CulturalAppropriation #刺し子 #日本人の刺し子


June 02, 2021 at 05:05PM

Do you know a Japanese culture(practice) called “Kintsugi”? It is a practice to repair(mend) broken pottery pieces with lacquer. It is introduced as a metaphoric symbol of embracing imperfection. Sashiko/Boro are in the same category. However, I haven’t seen an artist who breaks a pottery piece with a hammer, and repairs it then calls it “Art”, yet I can see numbers of photos damaging the good new fabric with files/sand-paper, then mending it for their “Art”. What is the difference? Do people break pottery piece on purpose to mend with Kintsugi in Western society (It may be just me who do not know). 

Extracting an idea from foreign language is very attractive. There are so many Japanese words which are “condensed” with filtering. “Wabi-Sabi”, “Mottainai”, “Ikigai”, they are probably more than what you know – so is Sashiko.



#Sashiko #SashikoDenim #JapaneseSashiko #SashikoStitching #刺し子 #日本人の刺し子


June 01, 2021 at 03:40PM

I would like to consider myself a story-teller rather than an activist for Sashiko. I thought, as a story-teller, my mission is to share a series of “new” stories. Therefore, I try to write something new in every post. However, I may have to change my view. If I am asking for a change to those with (intentional) ignorance, then what I do is more like an activist. It’s the matter of definition, but I learned the importance of sharing the “Same” stories over and over again.

I do not still consider myself an activist yet. I am NOT here to change anyone’s view. I just want to “leave” my voice so that someone (like you) will understand what `”Sashiko”would be ” when our Sashiko is wiped away by populism & commercialism. I summarized important information into videos. Please check them on our Youtube. There are NO rules in Sashiko – just respect to an origin (No rules doesn’t mean whatever is good).




#Sashiko #SashikoStory #JapaneseSashiko #SashikoStitching #Boro #JapaneseBoro #刺し子 #日本人の刺し子


May 31, 2021 at 01:50PM

One Story per day. I apologize I couldn’t accomplish it yesterday. I couldn’t get up from the bed. I haven’t been feeling well last few weeks. A story per day. It is a voice from my heart. I cannot just observe someone overpainting my memories regardless if they are good or bad. Sashiko isn’t anyone’s possession. However, my memories are my own – and everytime I acknowledge ignorance, I stop to fight back in the sorrow. If you have any issues with what I write, read my desperate messages here. Don’t read what you think I would write. I am tired of explaining myself.

Some say, “Hey, if you are in that much pain, you should stop it (sharing, teaching Sashiko, or business itself)”. I know they mean well, but that is the last knife to end me. Do I have a choice to give up sharing? Privileged people do whatever they want no matter what… so I should just observe them overrunning my culture – and my own memories?

If you are not willing to learn what Sashiko is to us, stop teaching & calling it Sashiko. (Before you react, read my insight in Cultural Appropriation with Sashiko). I have been screaming for 2 years. I will continue if I cough up the blood. My messages are my life. Do not degrade someone’s life by saying, “It is your choice”. Sashiko isn’t a choice for me. It is my life.



#Sashiko #JapaneseSashiko #SashikoStitching #刺し子 #日本人の刺し子


May 29, 2021 at 11:14AM

Teaching Sashiko in Western Culture always gives me an opportunity to learn how different we can be. It is the beauty of diversity, and let’s appreciate the difference. You know it by now. I do NOT intend to exclude non-Japanese from Sashiko. I want them/you to enjoy Sashiko. All I am asking is to “learn”. It isn’t always about “Right” or “Wrong”, “True” or “False”. This dualism is already a filtering system in Western Culture. If you think you know about Sashiko without the Japanese cultural/linguistic understanding, then please doubt what you know is enough. 

[Sashiko literally means “Little Stabs”.] is not a wrong statement. However, some well-educated Japanese wonder if it is satisfactory. I shared this concern a few years ago. I am still learning & researching. 

As a native Japanese who spends most of my life in Sashiko, I often wonder “Who is Sashiko for?”. Sashiko doesn’t exist for me, but my life may exist for Sashiko. Sashiko can be a remedy for social issues, but Sashiko isn’t a magic bullet for their temporary needs – with cutting & pasting a “part” of Sashiko. I am happy to share Sashiko for anyone – but Sashiko isn’t just for the Joy of people with privilege.

「刺し子はなぜ(”誰の / 何の”為に)存在するのか」。物心がついた頃からの長年の疑問です。幼少期からそれを考えていればそりゃ面倒くさい大人になりますよ(笑)でもね、考えざるを得なかったんです。「刺し子が長男としての未来だ」としてレールを敷かれ、そのレールが嫌で仕方なかったのだから。


#Sashiko #SashikoStitching #JapaneseSashiko #Boro #JapaneseBoro #刺し子 #日本人の刺し子


May 28, 2021 at 11:27AM

【Announcement for the Online Sashiko Class】

I have made this announcement several times in my other accounts (@upcyclestitches) & website (UpcycleStitches.com). Just in case, right before June 1st, here is the announcement for the Online Sashiko Class.

Due to the steep increase in Shipping Cost from Japan to the U.S. as well as some inflation, I increased the Online Sashiko Class to $330.00. I set the month of May as the adjusting period, and one may register their workshop with the previous price of $300.00 with agreeing that they will start the workshop sometime in June or later. Also, the waiting list to receive this pricing is available until 5/31. 

The goal of this Online Sashiko Class is to encourage & enable you to be able to stitch as we do. Therefore, it comes with a Live Session for me to check their learning & adjust my teaching to each individual. I set the maximum number of the students per specific period, and I believe the learning can be their life-long benefit. Once they learn it, they can use it for their life-time for their Sashiko. Since I do not plan to go back to an in-person workshop to NYC anytime soon (I may offer something in PA), please consider this Online Sashiko Class to enrich your Sashiko experience. If your goal is to have even stitches with stitching in good speed, this is a great opportunity for you (check our Youtube how we stitch). The link is available from “Story” today.


#Sashiko #SashikoWorkshop #OnlineSashikoClass #UpcycleStitches #刺し子 #運針会