30 October 2018

Katana or Kimono?

A play in one act. Based on actual events.

Characters: He, She, a Clerk.

A big stationery shop in Tokyo, buying a Nakaya.

The kimono? Maybe not.

HE: Among the pen community, the silk pen case is known as “the kimono”.
SHE: No Japanese would ever call that a kimono.

SHE: (Facing the clerk.) What is the name of that pen case?
CLERK: We call it “katana bukuro”.
HE: A bag for the sword?
SHE: I told you—no one in Japan calls it a kimono.
HE: Did anyone in Japan hear about pens being mightier than swords?


A “katana bukuro”, a bag for the sword. Besides the obvious meaning, it is also an ornament carried by women in their kimono at their wedding. Apparently, Japanese women needed some form of self-defense on those dire situations... The irony is that the “katana bukuro” is merely ornamental and inside there is nothing but a cylindrical cardboard instead of the traditional dagger, the “kaiken”.

The ornamental (and empty) "katana bukuro" with the elaborate knot and the two tassels.

A pen would be a better filling—provided the name of the bag changed accordingly.

Pilot Custom Heritage 912 – Wagner 2008 ink

Bruno Taut
Shinjuku, October 30th 2018
Etiquetas: Platinum, Japón


Nikos said...

informative and wonderfully playful! So what would be the name of it then : Mannehitsu bukuro ?

Bruno Taut said...

Thanks, Nikos. A better name would be "fude ire". "Fude" is brush, but it is also a generic word for writing tool, for pen. "Ire" means container, case.

Thanks for passing by and commenting. How was the Ohio Pen Show?


Nikos said...

Thanks Bruno :) The Ohio Pen Show was fun but in regards to Japanese pens which are the core of my collection, dry. I did pick up a very nice Hakase made from celluloid & buffalo horn that Mr. Harumi Tanaka made a while back.
Will you be going to the Madrid show ?

Juan Aedo G. said...

Your blog is gold! Lovely tale

Bruno Taut said...

Thanks, Nikos and Juan, for your comments, and my apologies for my silence.

About the Madrid Pen Show I need to write a small comment. About my blog being good... it should be better if only through being more regular.



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