Usually, 1/4 or Monday of the next week of 1/1 is first business day of the new year in Japan, where, many business people go to see and show new year greetings to their customers with some gifts.
This new year gift is called “Onenga” (お年賀) in Japanese.
It is said that this custom was born in “Edo” era (江戸時代, around mid 1600), when people obtained peaceful lives and merchants were flourished.
Local “Samurai” used to visit “Shogun” with their local products.
Traders and merchants brought sweets, sake or liquor on their first business day of the year.
Nowadays, most popular “Onega” is Towel.
Why Towel ?
It seems to be because Towel is cheep and good for daily use.
Sometimes, the towel has a company or merchants name printed, that is to be exposed every time used, and it works to go deeply into the customers memory.
Towel for “Onenga” derives from Kabuki actors who distributed “Tenugui” (手ぬぐい, Japanese traditional towel) their fans and supporters.
They used to design the pattern of “Tenugui” or had their “Kamon”(家紋, family emblems) printed on “Tenugui.
If you are learning Tea ceremony, you may choose “Tenugui” with tea utensils like below.
Tenugui with tea utensils
If you are a Sushi cook, you may like this one.
Tenugui with fish Kanji
And, if you are a firefighter, below should be the exact ones !
Tenugui with “Matoi”
Revival of “Tenugui” “Onenga” from modern towel must be “Iki” (粋, nifty) today !
You can also obtain them on our website.
Why don’t you visit here ? -> http://kimokame.com/shop/sections/kimono-inspired-interiors/
There are a lot of historical traditional crafts all over Japan, including clothing, food, interior, stationary, and so on.
If you would like to see and learn about them, why don’t you visit “Japan Traditional Crafts Aoyama Square” ?
It has database of detail information about the crafts in each area.
When you look at the category about woven fabric, there are 34 kinds of fabric in 17 prefectures, and for dyed fabrics, there are 11 kinds of fabric in 7 prefectures.
Of woven fabric kinds, most famous among Japanese people are, Yuki-Tsumugi, Kihachijo, Oshima-Tsumugi, and Kurume-Gasuri for Kimono, and, Nishijin-Ori and Hakata-Ori for Obi fabric.
Tsumugi weaving is not gorgeous, but has humble beauty of the texture that represents typical Japanese wording “Wabi Sabi”.
Tsumugi was loved mostly by ordinary people, and has been worn on casual occasions in these days.
Nishijin-Ori is, on the other hand, is characteristic of its luxuriousness weaving with gold and silver strings, that used to be worn mostly by noble people in days of old, and has been utilized in formal situation these days.
Of dyed fabrics, Kyo-Yuzen, Kaga-Yuzen, and Bingata is vary famous among many Japanese people, even those who are not interested in Kimono.
Kyo-Yuzen is provably typical Kimono fabric that most of foreigners will imagine.
Kaga-Yuzen is dyed by the almost same way as Kyo-Yuzen, however, its is less gorgeous and characteristic of its vermiculate leaves in the pictured pattern.
Kaga-Yuzen (vermiculate leaves)
Japan Traditional Crafts Aoyama Square also has a showroom in Aoyama, Tokyo, where, hundreds of hi-quality folk crafts all over Japan are regularly shown and you can actually buy them.
They also provides biweekly exhibitions and most recent planned exhibition in the Square is about the crafts in Fukui prefecture (from 8/31 to 9/11). It seems to include ceramics, lacquer crafts, edged tools, and paper crafts.
Traditional Craft Square_1
Traditional Crafts Aoyama Square 2
Traditional Crafts Aoyama Square 3
If you plan to have a trip to Japan and would like to find something Japanese traditional, why don’ t you check the site before you fly ?
You may be able to find the aspects of Japanese tradition that you do not know yet !
On Sunday Aug. 25, Tokyo’s Imperial Hotel will be host to the spirit of traditional capital Kyoto and the previous life of Tokyo, when it was known as Edo. This show will feature classical dance performances by geiko and maiko from Kyoto, and geisha from Tokyo, a highly unusual combination of extraordinarily accomplished artists representing some of the nation’s most refined schools from its two most respected centers of Japanese dance.
Did you know that Maiko, Geiko and Geisha are different ?
What is Geisha ?
The word Geisha literally translates to “arts person” or “one trained in arts” (gei = art, sha = person). It is also sometimes described as “women of arts, which is exactly what a Geisha is – a woman trained in the traditional arts of Japan such as dance, music, singing to name a few.
What is Maiko ?
The word Maiko literally translates to “dancing child” (mai = dance,ko = child), but is also referred to as “dancing girl”. A Maiko is an apprentice Geisha who must must undergo a period of training that generally takes 5 years, where she learns the various “gei” (arts) such as dancing, singing, music etc before she becomes a Geisha.
What is Geiko ?
The word Geiko is another way of saying Geisha. It is predominately used by Geisha of the Kyoto districts.
Now, you know the difference. Kyoto’s geiko and maiko at the Imperial are from Gionkobu, the largest entertainment district in the old capital, established at the end of the Edo Period. Tokyo’s geisha are from the Shimbashi district, an entertainment section of the city of Edo established in the Ansei Era between 1854 and 1860 and by the Meiji Era one of the new country’s most active cultural centers. The joint performances of Kyoto’s geiko and maiko and Tokyo’s geisha is a highly unusual opportunity to enjoy these two distinctive dance troupes at the same venue at the same time.
Even most of Japanese never have a chance to see Maiko dance nor Geisha dance. How much does the ticket cost ? Well, including dinner and dance performance, 32,000yen (400 USD)per person. That makes sense that I never had a chance to see that.
Kimono is tradition but there is a movement among kimono designers seeking to bring the traditional Kimono into the modern world.
Tokyo Fashion Week ran from March 18 through March 24. There were green fashions from the designer who dressed Lady Gaga as well as a modern updates on the traditional kimono. About 15,000 people gathered for the Tokyo Runway Show to watch street styles, a show put together by Japanese creators seeking to switch to ready-to-wear brands and “real clothes consumers”. The third generation Kimono designer Jotaro Saito presented his “Futurism” collection, featured beautiful kimono in a variety of bold patterns and vivid colors with models wearing traditional sandals and being trussed up in “obi” sashes with fabric featuring horizontal-lining, checks and polka-dot.
Tokyo Fashion Week, 2012, Jotaro Saito
Tokyo Fashion Week 2012, Jotaro Saito
Kimono for daily wear is Jotaro’s philosophy. His stunning creations are a respectful nod to traditional kimono design bringing bold colors and modern patterns using the standard kimono form, which has taken the art form to new heights.
He has also carried his art form beyond Kimono to various works of art for restaurants, hotels, museums and shopping districts and his design work has been incorporated into household items and furniture.
If you want to check his collection, his shop is introduced on JINTO(Japan National Tourism Organization) fashion site.