February 22, 2023 2 Comments
WHAT DOES KIKU MEAN?
By Susu Smythe
I picked “Kiku” for the name of my new business when I discovered that my name, Susu, had been trademarked and I was prohibited from using it. “Kiku” means chrysanthemum in Japanese, a flower that has a rich and important history in Japan. Many of the vintage silks that I sell have symbols of kiku woven, stenciled, tie-dyed, or painted on them.
Chrysanthemums were imported to Japan from China and became wildly popular and beloved. The imperial family adopted it as the sign of the royal family; the royal throne is known as the chrysanthemum throne. In 910 AD, the emperor sponsored the first chrysanthemum festival, now known as the happiness festival. It is held on September 9, the ninth day of the ninth month. When Japan came out of isolation and joined the international world of nations, it adopted a flag in 1869 featuring a chrysanthemum which remains the imperial standard.
The Japanese passport includes a stylized kiku and there is a Japanese coin with a kiku symbol.
Chrysanthemums are edible and have been cultivated for medicinal and culinary purposes for centuries. As a result, the flower is a symbol of longevity, rejuvenation and nobility, as well as the symbol of fall, harvest and good will. The chrysanthemum petals are steeped in hot water to create a beverage that has a bittersweet taste and a floral aroma. The petals are also dipped in soy sauce and used as a condiment with sashimi.
Red chrysanthemums are given to loved ones in a manner similar to the American tradition of giving red roses on Valentine’s Day and other special occasions. White chrysanthemums are reserved for funerals and mourning.
The Japanese have had a love affair with kiku for centuries and consider it a very auspicious symbol. It is no wonder that kiku are ubiquitous on vintage Japanese kimono, obi sashes, haori jackets and juban under robes. I think it is an auspicious name for my business that celebrates vintage Japanese clothing.
April 17, 2023 1 Comment
March 23, 2023
March 10, 2023