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

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