2007/07/14

Comb (kushi) kanzashi and hair

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Comb (kushi 櫛)

Famous combs in Japan are made of boxwood
(tsuge gushi 柘植櫛).

The combs are usually soaked in camellia oil to keep their shine for many years. They also prevent static electricity to develop.

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Japanese boxwood comb does not create static helping make all hair look beautiful.

Carved Boxwood comb -Daruma-



Detail


© japanesetradition.net / Sanrokudo070715




Dragon design and more, click the thumbnail.

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A dreary feeling
in a spring night
It's hard to shake off
I comb my long hair
Until my heart’s content


Yosano Akiko


JAPANESE COMBS AND HAIR ORNAMENTS
By Ed Jacob

A Japanese comb is about much more than just styling your hair. Some 400 years ago, Japan took the simple comb and transformed it into an elegant beauty accessory that became a work of art. Japanese kushi (combs) and kanzashi (hairpins) became expressions of a woman’s character, social class, religion, and people could even tell what neighbourhood someone lived in by looking at their hair ornaments .

According to an ancient Japanese proverb, “A woman’s hair is her life” (Kami wa onna no inochi) and from the early 1600’s until the beginning of the modern era, decorative combs and hairpins called kanzashi have been an important part of Japanese fashion.

Western style jewelry such as rings, necklaces and bracelets was not worn in Japan until the modern era. Instead, women decorated their hair. The elaborate hairstyles (mage), of the Edo period required a tremendous amount of time and money to maintain, and the value of what a woman wore in her hair often far exceeded even the cost of the beautiful silken, gold brocade kimono she wore on her back. Hair was so important that it came to symbolize nearly every facet of her existence.

Looking at a woman’s hairstyle, you could tell what social class she belonged to, whether she was married or not, her age, and whether she had any children. Hair ornaments became important family heirlooms that were handed down from generation to generation, and in Kyoto, when a comb eventually wore out or was broken, it was saved until the Kompira Kushi Matsuri (Kyoto Comb Festival) and taken to a temple where prayers were said for its spirit, after which it was burned in a purifying ritual fire.

As lovely as Japanese combs are, however, they are almost never given as gifts because of a superstition that associates them with suffering and death. The word kushi, is associated with misfortune because it sounds like the words for suffering (ku) and death (shi). One should never give one as a present because it might bring death to the person and, similarly, it is considered unlucky to pick one another person’s comb because you may take on a person’s suffering.

Although decorative combs went out of fashion for the general public more than a hundred years ago, they are still worn with kimono, and if you know where to look, it is still possible to find craftsmen that make and sell them today. One such shop is Nijusan-ya, a tiny store hidden in plain sight in Kyoto’s bustling Shijo shopping district.

Nijyusan-ya means twenty three, a seemingly strange choice of name for a comb shop, and is puzzling even to Japanese people who aren’t in on the joke. It comes from a Japanese word for the special bamboo combs that are their specialty, called togushi. The characters used to write togushi have the same pronunciation as the numbers ten (to), nine (ku or gu) and four (shi). Add them up and you get the shop’s name, twenty three.

Nijusan-ya is very Kyoto. In typical Kyoto style, it does not advertise, has a tiny sign, and is the kind of place you could walk by 500 times without ever noticing. In business for more than 180 years, it has been at its present location in Kyoto’s downtown Shijo district for more than 60. They sell nothing but combs and hair ornaments, but their goods are of such high quality that they are able to compete with the cell-phone shops and trendy designer clothing boutiques nearby.

Kyoto has always been known for the quality of its gold, tortoise shell, mother of pearl, and lacquer work, and Kyogushi (Kyoto-style combs) are the most famous in the country. Kyoto’s combs have traditionally been made from boxwood from the island of Kyushu, which has become extremely rare and expensive. While other comb makers have resorted to importing low-priced boxwood from Thailand, Nijusan-ya insists on using only the domestic variety to ensure the quality of its products.

That is the secret to Nijusan-ya’s success. The owner, Isamu Kakie, like his father and his grandfather before him, is uncompromising in his adherence to tradition. Every last item in the shop is hand-crafted by skilled artisans who shape the wood by hand, and then spend hours or days decorating the products with the beautiful cranes, Mt. Fujis, chrysanthemums and cherry blossoms that make them so gorgeous.

ps
Hair ornaments could even be a deadly weapon.
Female ninja called kunoishi used them to rake the eyes of their victims while escaping or dipped them in poison to assassinate people. There are also many accounts of women using them to fend off male attackers.
© Ed Jacob 0707

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Orokugushi お六櫛 O-Roku Combs

Oroku-kushi


quote
"Oroku-gushi"... Small comb made from Minebari 峰榛 (wood)
from which about 100 teeth are sawed to width of only 10cm or less
... was known to the whole country as a special product of Nakasendo and a souvenir of the Ontakesan belief and the Zenkoji Temple visiting since Edo period.
Still, this Yabuhara-juku makes and keeps being loved as a traditional craft goods of the comb and Nagano Prefecture of utility goods.

The Nagano Prefecture Kiso-gun Kiso-mura is given to a rich forest and the head of a river in the village of the source of Kisogawa and has developed.
Yabuhara-juku located in the south of "Torii pass" called the most dangerous place of the Nakasendo was a stage of "Center point of Nakasendo" in Edo period,and the transportation node as divergence in the point of east and west and the Hida Road. "Orokugushi" is told to have come to be made from the Yabuhara-juku, year of the Kyouho era of Edo period.

Legend of Oroku-comb
There was a beautiful maiden name of "Oroku" in the Tsumago-jyuku. She was always worried about sickness of the head.
Oroku prayed to the Ontake-Daigongen as a certain traveler had taught one day. There was reporting..."Comb the hair with the hatchel made from the Minebali tree in the morning and evening. Your headache recovers without fail. " Oroku immediately made the comb of the Minebali,and she combed the hair every evening every morning.Then, her sickness was put away completely soon on several.
This was, and when the comb made from Minebali that was able to be taken in the vicinity was marketed to the traveler, "Oroku-gushi" became serious famous, and it was well known to the whole country.
It is said that it came to make Orokugushi also in the Yabuhara because the Minebali that is the material tree can be gathered near the Torii pass when becoming year of the Kyouho era.

Oroku-comb in Yabuhara 薮原宿原町
The article on Orokugushi is in Edo period is published in the book on Ota Shokusanjin's 'Jinjyutsu Kikou' (1802).

Orokugushi made the name known to the whole country in addition by the play of the original of Snto Kyoden 'Orokugushi Kiso no Adauchi' in 1807, and became a large fashion.
The thing that the house of 78 percent in the Yabuhara-jyuku was involved in the work of the comb is understood according to material in 1844 - 1848.
It is assumed that about one million combs were produced in the thicket field according to the record in 1876.
The comb made here is called to be "Orokugushi" generically in Yabuhara-jyuku. As for the kind of Orokugushi, a lot of various names are given by shape, the size, and the difference of how etc. to apply teeth.

Read more here

Comb making Tools
Traditional techniques
Craftsman lives
source : www.kisomura.net


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Satsuma tsugegushi 薩摩つげ櫛
boxwood combs from Kagoshima



made with various patterns of blossoms

In the middle of the Edo Period, when the Satsuma clan was engaged in the Kiso River embankment project, lower ranking samurai of the clan began making boxwood combs to supplement their incomes. The popularity of these lovely combs can be seen in the lyrics of a contemporary song:

"How I wish I were a boxwood comb,
so I could meet many ladies".


The final step in the production process is natural drying after soaking in camellia oil.
source : www.pref.kagoshima.jp

. Regional Folk Toys from Japan - Kagoshima .


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Further Reading


Tetsuo Ishihara,石原哲男
The Geisha Stylist Who Let His Hair Down
Nihongami no sekai 日本髪の世界. 舞妓の髪型編
The only man among Kyoto's last five keppatsu-shi, or hairdressers to the geisha, Ishihara is the coiffeur king of the most celebrated of the pleasure quarters surviving from old Japan.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A6563-2004Aug16.html



Kushi, kanzashi, keshōgu : Edo no kōgei :
Santorī Bijutsukan korekushon
くし・かんざし・化粧具 : 江戶の巧芸 : サントリ一美術館コレクション.
http://siris-libraries.si.edu/ipac20/ipac.jsp?&profile=all&source=~!silibraries&uri=full=3100001~!875560~!0#focus



Sawanoi Kushi Museum 櫛かんざし美術館
http://www.sawanoi-sake.com/kushi/index



Inquiry concerning hair ornaments
. . . PMJS : Listserve


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Kushi Matsuri 櫛祭り Kushi Comb Festival

Kyoto biyou bunka club (Kyoto cosmetics culture club) started it at 1961.
on the 4th Monday of September. Because one pronunciation in Japanese of 9-gatsu (September) is “ku-gatsu” and 4 is “shi”, the word that strung two words together becomes “Kushi” which means a comb.

The highlight of the festival is a procession of women who are doing up own hair to various Japanese coiffures, and wearing various kimonos, and making own faces up.

source : www.japan-hopper.com

. . . CLICK here for Photos !




. bihatsu kigan 美髪祈願 praying for beautiful hair .
櫛型のお守り amulet in form of a comb
櫛型の絵馬 ema votive tablet in form of a comb

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kanzashi かんざし / 簪 hairpin




Photos from my friend Ishino


. . . CLICK here for hairpin Photos !


かんざしや今日雪しろの奈良井川
kanzashi ya kyoo yukishiro no Naraigawa

this hairpin -
thawing snow water today
in Naraigawa

Harada Takashi 原田喬
Tr. Gabi Greve

. . . CLICK here for Photos of River Naraigawa ! in Nagano prefecture

yukishiro ゆきしろ【雪代】 thawing snow water, kigo for mid-spring
melting snow, snowmelt, thaw, yukidoke 雪解



In spring, the greening branches were thought to be full of the life force and used to stick into the hair:


kazasu  挿頭す, kazashi 挿頭



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kigo with boxwood (tsuge)
Buchsbaum, Buxus microphylla



kigo for late spring

tsuge no hana 黄楊の花 (つげのはな) boxwood blossoms
..... asama tsuge no hana あさま黄楊の花(あさまつげのはな)
hime tsuge, himetsuge 姫黄楊(ひめつげ)



kigo for early summer

. tsuge ochiba 黄楊落葉(つげおちば)
fallen leaves of boxwood .




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hanakanzashi はなかんざし【花簪】
Helipterum roseum

Pink and White Everlasting
lit. "flower hairpin"

a flower from the chrysanthemum family
ローダンセ /ヘリプテラム
kigo for mid-spring
Land of origin is Australia. It grows about 40 cm and has flowers of many colors from white to pink to purple. Also good to make dry flowers of the blossoms.
. . . CLICK here for Photos !



. Plants in Spring - SAIJIKI .


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Netsuke with Daruma from Boxwood


Photos :
- Hokusai Kanzashi Design 北斎の櫛雛形 -


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source : 1000ya.isis.ne.jp

kanzashi uri かんざし売り hairpin vendor in Edo

. Doing Business in Edo - 江戸の商売 .


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.................... H A I K U



秋風や櫛の歯を引おく道者
aki kaze ya kushi no ha o hiku oku dôsha

autumn wind--
sawing the teeth of a comb
a hermit




薮入や連に別れて櫛仕廻ふ
yabuiri ya tsure ni wakarete kushi shimau

Servants' Holiday--
fellow travelers part ways
combing the hair


ISSA
Tr. David Lanoue



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CLICK for more photos


紅茸の前にわが櫛すべり落つ
benitake no mae ni waga kushi suberi otsu

in front of
the red mushroom my comb
slipps and falls


Yagi Mikajo 八木三日女



benitake ベニタケ "red mushroom" scarlet mushroom
Fam. Russulaceae
The mushroom could well be a sexual symbol.
kigo for all autumn


Comments about this haiku
http://gendaihaiku.com/mikajo/commentaries.html


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kami 髪 hair


humanity kigo for the New Year



. hatsu kami 初髪 (はつかみ) "first hair"
..... 初結(はつゆい)first combing the hair
having the hair made up for the first time
..... yuizome 、結初(ゆいぞめ)
toshi no kami 年の髪(としのかみ)
sukizome 梳初 (すきぞめ) first combing the hair

CLICK for more photos
hatsu shimada 初島田(はつしまだ)first Shimada-style hair


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humanity kigo for all summer


. kami arau 髪洗う (かみあらう) washing the hair
araigami 洗い髪(あらいがみ) washed hair



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humanity kigo for early winter

. ko-no-ha-gami, konohagami, 木の葉髪 thinning hair  
"hair falling out like leaves"



observance kigo for early winter

kamioki, kami oki 髪置 (かみおき) binding up the hair
..... kushi oki 櫛置(くしおき) using a comb
November 15, the full moon night of the Asian lunar calendar
Boys and girls at age three are combed tn this fashion for the first time. This is a celebration of growing up for the whole family.
A wig is made from white hemp or cotton and put on the head of the children, to show they will grow to ripe old age. After visiting the family deity (ujigami) there is a feast with all the relatives.
Boys are next celebrated at age 5, when they put on their first hakama trousers.
Shichigosan . Seven-Five-Three Festival



observance kigo for late winter

migushi age, migushiage 御髪上 (みぐしあげ)
ogushiage おぐしあげ
memorial service for old combs, hair and nails

On an auspicious day in December, the collected hair, broken combs and cut nails of the emperor or high-ranking persons are offered at official shrines and burned in a ritual fire.
It is already reported in the Tales of Genji.



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chonmage ちょんまげ【丁髷】topknot
traditional hairstyle for samurai in the feudal era



CLICK for more photos

At the temple Enkakuji 円覚寺 in Fukaura, Northern Japan, there are votive tablets (ema) with cut-off hair of samurai.
When a trade ship bound south was in difficult stormy waters, they would cut off their chonmage and pray to the deities for survival. If they did, the hair was offered at this temple, and is shown to our day.

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子の髪の風に流るる五月来ぬ 
ko no kami no kaze ni nagaruru gogatsu kinu

the hair of my child
is floating in the wind
May is here


Oono Rinka 大野林火 Ono Rinka


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A widow's peak
is a V-shaped point in the hairline in the center of the forehead. Hair growth on the forehead is suppressed in a bilateral pair of periorbital fields. Normally, these fields join in the middle of the forehead so as to give a hairline that runs straight across. Widow's peak results when the point of intersection on the forehead of the upper perimeters of these fields is lower than usual.
© More in the WIKIPEDIA !



autumn-
my widow's peak
changes colour


- Shared by Arvinder Kaur -
Joys of Japan, August 2012



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6 comments:

Jon Tan said...

Fascinating read. The best information I've found when searching for Tsuge Gushi information.

Anonymous said...

梅の花まけにこぼすや畚下し
ume no hana mage ni kobosu ya fugo oroshi

plum blossoms fall
in the hairdo...
lowering the basket

Kobayashi Issa

This haiku refers to a custom at a certain Buddhist temple in Kyoto. On the first Day of the Tiger of each year, pilgrims could purchase the temple's famous flint stones by lowering a basket with their money into a hole. Unseen monks below would then exchange the stones for the money.
Shinji Ogawa notes that the hiragana symbols make should be pronounced mage: an old-fashioned Japanese hairstyle. The blossoms are falling onto someone's hair.
(Tr. David Lanoue)

Gabi Greve - Basho archives said...

Matsuo Basho

白髪抜く枕の下やきりぎりす
shiraga nuku makura no shita ya kirigirisu

white hair
has fallen under my pillow -
crickets

MORE

Gabi Greve - Basho archives said...

Matsuo Basho
at the local shrine of his village at Iga Ueno

家はみな杖に白髪の墓参り
ie wa mina tsue ni shiragami no hakamairi

all family members
with canes and white hair
visiting graves

Gabi Greve - Buson said...

Yosa Buson

身にしむやなき妻のくし閨に踏
mi ni shimu ya naki tsuma no kushi o neya ni fumu

Stepping on the comb of his dead wife

Read the discussion . . .

Gabi Greve - Basho archives said...

Matsuo Basho

炉開きや左官老い行く鬢の霜 
robiraki ya sakan oi yuku bin no shimo

robiraki - tea ceremony