The History and Heritage of Furoshiki

One of our favorite things that KIM+ONO has afforded us, is the ability to share our founders’ family heritage with every product we offer. With both Chinese and Japanese heritage in their families, Renee and Tiffany Tam are deeply connected to their lineage. You can feel it in every design and every detail of each floral silk robe. The symbolism, the materials, and even the production process of these silk bathrobes are steeped in the traditions of Chinese and Japanese culture.


That’s why, as we are investing in more sustainable and environmentally-friendly efforts throughout all of our offerings, we are so very excited to introduce our brand new Furoshiki Gift Wrap. You may be wondering why we’re excited about announcing gift wrap! Furoshiki wrapping is actually a traditional Japanese technique for wrapping goods. There is so much history and such a big environmental benefit to this wrapping, and we are thrilled to share what makes furoshiki so special with you today in the journal. Learn all about furoshiki tradition and history below.

Handpainted Silk Crane Kimono Robe
Photo by Maria Del Rio
 
The History of Furoshiki

Furoshiki first originated in Japan in 710 B.C. and was first referred to as tsutsumi, which means present or gift. The tsutsumi would be used to wrap treasures found in Japanese temples, and during the next period, it shifted into wrapping clothing instead. Finally when it became known as furoshiki in the 1100s, it was used in a slightly different way. According to waste4change.com, “It was said that there was a Shogun during this era who had a large bathhouse in his residence and invited feudal lords to stay and use the facility.” So the name of this gift wrapping transitioned to furoshiki because Furo means bath and Shiki means to spread. “These guests would wrap their kimono in furoshiki cloth while they bathed so as to not confuse them with others’. Often, the clothes were adorned with family crests and emblems as further indications of who they belonged to. Many stood on the fabrics while drying after bathing, hence the translation of the word “bath spread.” Soon, the furoshiki became popular in multiple parts of society and transitioned once again to a way to wrap clothing and gifts.

KIM+ONO Kimono Store
Photo by Augie Chang
 
The Sustainability of Furoshiki

It’s clear to see why a cloth wrap is a much more sustainable way to wrap gifts. Instead of relying on plastics, which take a huge environmental toll, or even paper which can be recycled but isn’t nearly as helpful as reducing waste, the Furoshiki Gift Wrap offers an opportunity to use every piece of the gifting experience without creating excess waste. In fact, it’s become something of an initiative. According to metropolisjapan.com, “Since her days as Minister of the Environment, Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike has embraced furoshiki as a way of both promoting traditional Japanese culture and eco-friendly practices by replacing toxic plastic bags with the recyclable wrapping cloth. As part of this renewed support for the traditional cloth, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government has promoted international recognition of furoshiki through international exhibitions…installation(s) where they’ll find an exhibit on the history, practice and art of this simple, yet striking Japanese tradition.”

Washable Silk Yuri Kimono Robe
Photo by Maria Del Rio
 
The Modern Meaning of Furoshiki

While furoshiki has evolved over time, now it has the same kind of meaning as it did in its history. Whether you’re using it to wrap up a plus size kimono robe, a rose quartz gua sha tool, or another gift for someone you love, you’re doing it with the intention to elevate the thoughtfulness and care behind your gift and presentation. By wrapping an object with furoshiki, the object is imbued with care and the gift receiver with respect. It’s a beautiful sensitivity to the ritual aspect of giving and receiving gifts and how meaningful that is for human beings. Our floral silk robes can be wrapped up in furoshiki as a symbol of gratitude for the beautiful, delicate nature of these silk bathrobes as well. The act of delicately wrapping something special gives a deeper meaning to the gift you’re giving. It shows a sense of reverence for how gifts can be given and received, and it’s a meaning that is steeped in rich Japanese tradition.

Washable Silk Jia Kimono Robe
Photo by Stephanie Russo
 
The Etymology of Furoshiki

While you now know that furo means “bath” and shiki means “to spread”, there are some other origins of this word that give you a sense of the meaning and symbol of every beautifully cloth-wrapped gift. According to musubi-furoshiki.com, “The kanji for "Tsutsumu"(wrap; 包) comes from the figure of a woman admiring the baby in her womb. The character for "Musubu" (tie; 結) means giving shape to something or making something from nothing. "Omusubi", a rice ball, means shaping rice by pressing it. "Mi o musubu", to grow fruit, means that a fruit is grown from nothing. B[y using] a piece of cloth to wrap, [you] give it shape, and fulfill a purpose.” While you may not be aware of every piece of etymology, you can feel this beautiful, intangible meaningfulness when you wrap your gifted kimono bathrobe in Furoshiki Gift Wrap.

 Furoshiki Gift Wrap
 
The KIM+ONO Furoshiki Gift Wrap

Within our furoshiki offering, heritage and sustainability are combined to elevate your gifting experience. Furoshiki is the art of using fabric as a wrapping cloth and in this modern version of the historical wrapping, we use both sustainable and recyclable materials to bring your gift to life. Your silk kimono bathrobe will be thoughtfully placed in a drawstring cloth bag. Then it will be beautifully wrapped in a floral scarf, hand-tied around it. With a biodegradable cotton drawstring bag, your recipient can reuse it as storage for their silk bathrobe while traveling to their favorite destination And the luxurious KIM+ONO scarf used to create this furoshiki can be worn in your recipient’s hair, styled with their outfits, and even added to their bags as a sophisticated accessory. Your Furoshiki Gift Wrap honors the heritage behind the brand while creating an environmentally friendly option for gifting.

Whether it’s holiday, bridal, or birthday season — tell your gift recipient just how much you respect and love them with this intentionally wrapped Furoshiki Gift Wrap for every occasion.

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