​Obi Stories

​​Each obi has a unique pattern. The following patterns are frequently used in the Obi fabric, and each represents a cultural expression. Can you find stories from your obi from below? 

笠松 Kasamatsu (Hat of Pine)
This playful motif consists of pine foliage designed to resemble a conical hat with branches representing the hat’s drawstrings. This design is sometimes combined with Sasa. (Dwarf Bamboo leaves)
霞 Kasumi (Mist)
This pattern recreates the phenomena of objects seen from afar being blurred. It sometimes represents the passage of time or blurred realities.
青海波 Seigaiha (Blue ocean waves)
This typical geometric patterns uses concentric semicircles superimposed to represent waves. In the Edo period it was also referred to as ‘Seihasui’ (Blue wave waters).
飛鶴 Tobi Zuru (Flying Crane)
In Japan, the crane has long been loved by the people, and considered a good omen, and auspicious as a motif. Accordingly, crane patterns are used for celebratory purposes.
桐 Kiri (Paulownia)
Paulownia flowers are not actually connected to the leaves of a plant, but they are typically drawn that way in motifs depicting them. This is also a popular crest design.
竹 Take (Bamboo)
This is associated with Japanese folktale of princess Kaguya, discovered as a baby inside a bamboo stalk. Bamboo motifs are considered to be particularly sacred, auspicious patterns, as they grow so vertically towards the heavens.
扇面揃え Senmenzoroe (Arranged Fans)
A folding fan, also called a ‘suehiro’, is a symbol of growth and prosperity. It is also a pattern that conveys auspiciousness.
麻の葉 Asa no ha (Hemp leaf pattern)
This pattern refers to triangles overlapped so that they intersect with one another at points radiating in six directions. For this reason, it is also called ‘mutsuboshi’, or the six-pointed star. These patterns signify parents’ wish that their children grow to be strong like Hemp.
波頭 Namigashira (Wave crests)
The dynamic pattern depicts powerful cresting waves. It is also referred to as 'Tachinami' (breaking waves) and 'Aranami' (rough seas). This motif is commonly used on the colorful hand-painted flags called 'Tairyoubata' that adorn fishing boats.
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