1000 Stitch Belt- 00100
This well-made yellow cotton 1000 stitch belt measures approximately 7.5″ high (at its widest point) X 35.” long, not including the tie strings. Most of the wartime price control tag remains affixed to one of the tie strings (see photo). This is truly a unique Senninbari in many ways. The outer cotton cloth covering is a yellow-gold color, both front and back. In Asian culture, the color yellow symbolizes power and prosperity. Each of those were great qualities to impart to the Japanese soldier, sailor or airman. In the front of the belt a white and red silk patch (3″. high X 4″. long) was sewn to the front. In its center there are four large red kanji characters for the slogan Buun Chokyu or “May Your Military Fortunes Be Long Lasting”. In each of the upper corners, a flag waves: a regimental flag on the left and a battle flag on the right. In the lower left corner, a navy anchor is shown and in the opposing corner, an Imperial Japanese Army helmet is visible. The 1000 Stitch Belt has a large center pouch, lined in silk and felt (intended to keep the abdomen warm and in good health.) In the center of the pouch, an inner white pocket was sewn. A beautiful, traditional square white silk senninbari was found folded inside the pouch. The earliest senninbari were actually not belts but folded pieces of cloth with stitches added to them. These were carried on the person and believed to prevent harm in battle. This rare example shows a white silk piece of cloth, measuring 14.” high X 18.25″ long. Someone first added columns of one thousand blue dots and then stitched one thousand red knots over each. The thinking was that as each stitch was added to the material, the cloth would become stronger and stronger (like the soldier, sailor, or airman), capable of withstanding any challenge. Over the years, senninbari panels were added to the traditional haramaki or cloth belts, and the 1000 Stitch Belt evolved and was “invented”. Also sewn to the inside of the pouch is a white and red label from the famous Japanese Department Store Mitsukoshi, indicating where the 1000 Stitch Belt was sold. Founded in 1673, this famous department store has its headquarters in Tokyo. At one time they had stores located in China, Taiwan, Europe, and even North America, at Disney’s Epcot Center.
A truly beautiful and unusual Senninbari.