Needle mass: Hari-kuyo

Today, February 8, is the day of needle mass, called Hari-kuyo in Japanese. Komagome Waso Academy, where I go to learn Japanese dressmaking, was closed on that day. Last year I visited Awashima-do of Senso-ji Temple in Asakusa, Tokyo for the purpose of placing needles, with teachers and students of the Japanese dressmaking class. Today, seeing my calendar, I realize that it’s been almost a year since I visited Awashima-do.

Formerly, on the day of needle mass, housekeepers as well as all kinds of professionals using needles idled over their works including dressmaking and clean up their needle boxes. In general, on the day they visited Awashima Shrine for making appreciation to needles and wish for progress in needle works. So they held memorial services for needle, stinging soft tofu or konjac food by old nails or bended needles.
There are some differences on the day of needle mass from one locality to another in Japan. In addition, there are various origins as to needle mass, but I believe that Awashima Gannin in the Edo period (1603-1867) originally propagandized appreciation to needles and women, and started needle mass, saying that needles could cure female disorders and relieve sufferings of women. I think that needle mass is so friendly for women.

In our Japanese dressmaking class, all the students brought bended needles in the second half of January. Teachers put and keep them in a can until the day of needle mass. Everyone treasured bended needles very much. I had known needle mass, but it was not until I visited Awashima-do that I specifically thanked needles. Nonetheless, I had not thought to junk needles and had kept them as unavailable things. I, as one Japanese person, should intrinsically have sprits, caring and appreciating all things, a sense of “Mottainai”.

After the needle mass, we went to the restaurant for lunch. At the restaurant, I found that I lost my makeup bag. I might lose it in the taxi. Fortunately, the taxi driver found my lost bag and brought it to Asakusa. I felt that the day of needle mass is really friendly and gentle for women.

The photograph below shows teachers and students of the Japanese dressmaking class in front of Senso-ji Temple on the day of last needle mass.


Blogger Debbie Bates said...

Hello Hiro san,
Thank you very much for sharing this information. I marked Feb. 8 in my calendar to celebrate Hari-Kuyo in 2010. I have many broken needles that I appreciate. I live in Canada, but have been to Japan once. ~ Debbie san

November 21, 2009 at 11:42 AM  

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