Furoshiki Today & Future
Furoshiki culture which was once abandoned due to the waves of westernisation and modernisation in Japan, but furoshiki has been getting a lot of attention again in recent years as environmental measures and eco-friendly lifestyles are encouraged. This eco-friendly trend is worldwide phenomenon, and furoshiki, which is the excellent eco-friendly item from Japan, has the potential to spread all over the world.
Current situation of Furoshiki in Japan:
At present, it would be like 1 person or 2 with furoshiki you would encounter if you are on a busy road in Japan all day. It is far from the heyday that was commonly used in everyday life. Although attention has been drawn and various initiatives have been going by both public and private sectors, it is a long and steady path to regain the tradition that has once been outmoded.
Once we have cut down trees in the mountain, it will take decades of time to return to the original natural and rich mountain. There is no choice but to proceed steadily.
Furoshiki in the world:
Looking at the world, furoshiki is attracting attention in some parts. However, it is rarity and longing, and few people use it in real life.
If you travel in the West for a week or even a month, you probably will not see people who are using furoshiki. The word, furoshiki is rarely known outside of Japan.
Meanwhile, the word, sushi is probably the Japanese that everyone knows about all over the world. There are many other cultures from Japan, that are popular in the world. The recognition for furoshiki is far behind, but it is a Japanese traditional culture that is as valuable as sushi.
Sea bathing is popular on the west coast of USA such as California with a mild climate, on the European Mediterranean coast such as Spain and on well known Copacabana of the Brazilian coast,. In Brazil, there is a cloth culture called kanga that came from Africa. You lay it on the sandy beach, or wrap it around body and use it like clothing. On the Mediterranean coast, peshtemal (hammam towel) is popular and used for laying and wrapping around the body in the hammam (Turkish style bath). If it is for such uses, there seems to be a plenty of places where furoshiki can be immediately and effectively utilised.
Furoshiki as Eco bag:
Furoshiki as the essential eco bag requires learning how to use it although it is simple, and steady dissemination activities are necessary. If you do not know about furoshiki, it should look like a bag with a cutting-edge design at first glance. It is also thought that it will become popular as a fashion item with some kind of clue.
In the “Furoshiki History” I mentioned about the broad sense definition of furoshiki as a cloth culture and the narrow sense definition of furoshiki, which is a unique culture of Japan. The Japanese furoshiki of the narrow sense specialised in wrapping and carrying. On the other hand, getting used for other purposes has almost disappeared.
Suggestion of Furoshiki uses:
In order to disseminate it all over the world, it should be prudent to not only convey the wrapping culture that is a feature of the Japanese furoshiki, but also to understand local customs and cloth culture to propose suggestions adaptable to local societies.
One of them is use on the beach. There is probably no hesitation to using it as a tablecloth. First of all, it is important that people use it and to recognise furoshiki.
How about having bottles wrapped and taking to a party? There is nothing else to secure firmly and carry the bottles as easily as furoshiki.
In addition to the Japanese unique designs, it is also an idea to adopt various designs around the world. For materials also, it would be nice to see the appearance of furoshiki which adopts fabric materials all over the world, not just sticking to Japanese furoshiki materials, and developing by integrating with various kinds of cloth cultures.
Some people may think that “the tradition of Japan will be lost by fusion with other cultures”. However, no worrying in Japan because there are people who preserve and inherit the tradition firmly. Culture is what keeps changing with the development. By all means, it would be great to witness the figure of the furoshiki changing to be accepted by many people both inside and outside of Japan and going vibrant around the world.
Author: Takuya Nagata (Founder of MINIЯISM: minirism.org)Born in Japan. The creator who is a graduate of the UK’s university. Also worked as a writer, and is passionate on sports.
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