Kumihimo maker in Monterey, California

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Kumihimo maker in Monterey, California

Postby Michael T H » Thu Jan 21, 2016 7:11 pm


Firstly, thank you, Ford, for allowing me to a member of this very fine forum. My name is Michael Hattori and I am a maker of kumihimo braids.
I began my study of kumihimo in 1979 during a year abroad, at the Dômyô school in Tokyo. That study has intensified over the last 15 years, and the past 5 years I have been focusing on reproducing a number of very complex braids, some of which date back as far as the Heian period (794-1185). A number of them were found in various temples, such as Chûsonji, Chion'in, and Shitennoji; for this reason I refer to them as the "Temple Braids." The others are part of the collection in the Shôsôin treasure repository in Nara. The most complex of these braids is called Ryômen Kikkô 両面亀甲組; it is a quadruple layer, double-sided tortoiseshell design (Kikkô) comprised of 144 working elements.

Along the way, I had been asked to make sageo for a number of iaido practitioners and sword collectors; I've also made lacing cords for netsuke and inrol. Along with a long-standing interest in Japanese swords and their accoutrements, tsuba in particular, I've been doing a some research on sageo and also the odoshi lacing cords used for Japanese armor. There is precious little information in either Japanese or English on these subjects, as these braids seem to be seen as incidental, despite their playing in integral role both functionally, and decoratively. I've pored through many Japanese books on both armor and swords, and although photos abound, the mention of the kumihimo braids and/or their makers is often either scant or glaringly (to me, at least) absent.

One of my goals is to write a comprehensive history of kumihimo in English. I started my research on this some years ago, but since I work full time as a nurse (go figure, right? :rolleyes: ) I have not had the time to devote to it that I would like. I'm hoping that will change in the near future. However, with the depth of knowledge present in this quite amazing community, I'm hoping that someone out there might have some information that could be shared.

I will be posting some photos of my work shortly. Any comments are welcome! I am also a sometime photographer, and will post my website for that as well for those who may be interested. My photographic work is mainly travel-oriented and centered around Japan and Southeast Asia.

Thank you, again, for allowing me to be part of this unique and very impressive forum. I encourage any questions about kumihimo you may have, and I will do my best to provide answers.

Best regards,
Michael Hattori
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Re: Kumihimo maker in Monterey, California

Postby Joe D » Fri Jan 22, 2016 2:59 pm

Welcome! I look forward to seeing some of your photos.
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