9/12/2009

Kanzashi: Japanese hairpin


These are Japanese hairpins, kanzashi, made by Kintakedo in Gion, Kyoto.
They are kanzashi for real maikos, immature geishas.
I was deeply moved by kanzashi because of their beauty, when I opened the box coming from Kyoto. I captured a moment.
They are called tsumami kanzashi, pinching hairpins, made by small pieces of fabrics, which represent mountain upon mountain of flowers. These fabrics are habutae; smooth, glossy silk cloths with fine weave, which are recognized as the top quality products of kimonos’ liner. In addition, they are called hana kanzashi, flower hairpins, where many flowers were used as motifs.

Maikos’ kanzashi have already been determined each month. Maikos with less than one year of experience have kanzashi composed of small flowers and use bura, which hang from kanzashi, whereas older maikos use ones composed of bigger flowers.
These kanzashi are composed of small chrysanthemums, which represent kanzashi on October for maikos with less than one year of experience.

Even a kanzashi implies many meanings, season and years of experience. I suppose all the kimonos and accessories for maikos make maikos perfect beauty.

I showed the kanzashi to the students of my kimono class. Especially, their beauty made American students shout with pleasure.

The book “A Geisha’s Journey” published by Kodansha International is popular among American kimono lovers. The heroine, Komomo, had originally wanted to retire after 6 years of experience as a maiko, because through her experience, she had wanted to introduce Japanese culture overseas. But she reconsidered that she should introduce Japanese culture from the inner side of hanamachi, geisha world. She finally determined to introduce Japanese culture through working as a mature geisha and mastering the secret of performance.

The harmony of a veritable tapestry of professionals who want to master the secret and craftsmen who have mastered the secret seems strong and beautiful. I have become painfully aware that we require huge efforts to pursue a certain track.

I would like to pass on “the harmony of a veritable tapestry” through kimono, but I really struggle to pass on a simple skill to the American students of my class, because of my poor English. Initially I thought that I could naturally acquire English one year after I moved to this country, which was fatal misunderstanding. If I would like to acquire communication abilities in English, I should study English very well. I have started studying English during my business. Now I am going to the English school, where a Russian girl is one of my classmates. She seems very serious, because she comes to New York City only for studying English.
Not only I can't say what I want to say, but also I can’t fluently introduce myself; however, I have realized my first objective since I went to the English school. Really I must not forget my first objective to pass on the wonderful Japanese cloths to many people all over the world.

I think that it is nice and important to do things with a sincere effort even on the acquisition of English.
While I see these kanzashi, I decide to pass on things and skills as many as possible through my business in USA.

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