2023 November 9


KOYORI ANECDOTES: mottoi/motoyui and mizuhiki

In addition to its role as a sealing tool for letters among aristocrats, the Koyori string has developed into two distinct forms: The first is known as "Mottoi/Motoyui", which is a type of Koyori string used to secure the hair of Sumo wrestlers. These strings must be robust and sturdy to prevent hair from coming loose during their matches. Maiko and geiko, who are professional entertainers skilled in traditional Japanese dances and singing, also utilize Koyori strings to fashion their traditional Japanese hairstyles.

The second form is called "Mizuhiki". Mizuhiki is crafted from Koyori strings that are glued and colored. Its origins can be traced back to the Muromachi period (1336-1573) when it emerged as a custom among Bushi soldiers. The various shapes and colors used in Mizuhiki each carry distinct meanings and have since become a long-standing practice.

Over time, the tying techniques evolved into three-dimensional and decorative forms, often representing symbols of good fortune like cranes, turtles, pine trees, bamboo, and plum trees. Even to this day, during the 20th century and beyond, Mizuhiki has become an industrial product, mass-produced in a wide range of colors and shapes, serving various decorative purposes in our daily lives.

To be continued.
Explore other ANECDOTES.

Reference: Nihon Mizuhiki written by Chie Nagaura

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