Braiding is back in style thanks to 'Your Name'

Good morning everyone,

It's going to be a gorgeous weekend with daytime highs around 13C and mostly sunny skies. It's not the weather I was hoping for for the race, but what can you do, eh? At least the overnight low will be around 0C and the race start time is 9am, so I should be able to run most of the race in cool weather. They're calling for rain to start the week on Monday and then again on Thursday.

The anime movie sensation Your Name seems to have everything now. It’s got a release date for Western audiences, complete with an English version of the soundtrack by rock band Radwimps, who also did the Japanese version, and a place in history as the second-highest-grossing domestically produced film in Japan. The success of the movie has spurred the creation of numerous additional ways to enjoy the magic of the film through avenues such as themed cafes and jewelry.

Nothing in the stars points to the film’s buzz dying down, and now its good fortune is spreading to traditional Japanese handicraft kumihimo (braids) that are enjoying a resurgence in popularity after being prominently featured in the film.

Intricate and complex kumihimo were worn by samurai as a decorative and functional way to connect the small rectangular plates that made up the warrior’s armor. These days, kumihimo are often used as fasteners on haori (jackets worn over a kimono) and worn with obi (kimono sash).


In the movie Your Name, red kumihimo are used as a way for the female protagonist to decorate her hair, and one can also be seen on the wrist of the male lead.


▼ The band on his wrist is not a watch.


These simple appearances in the film have sent the sales of kumihimo skyrocketing, especially for young men and women in their teens and 20s. Specialty kumihimo shops have seen a substantial increase in their sales, specifically surging since September as the movie was released in August. Couples are buying them as mementos to show their affection for each other, and men are wearing them in the same fashion as the male lead in the film.

Frenzied fans aren’t just looking to buy kumihimo, as the industrious crafty ones are also making it themselves. Like many traditional Japanese crafts, they process can be a bit daunting.

Whether you’re buying a charming kumihimo bracelet or making one for yourself, it’s great to see this traditional art form make a comeback in the modern era. We could see this becoming just as popular in the West as it is in Japan, just like the film itself.

How about you? Will you jump on the bandwagon and make your own kumihimo? Hmmm...I think I'll pass...I'm a little too old for that, I think...

Have a great day!

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