6/12/2011

2 Lines - Nihon - Japan - Momotaro - The Meaning Behind the Momotaro "Going to Battle" Series


Momotaro "Going to Battle" series feature the two lines painted on the back pockets or sleeves. These two lines represent Japan and Japanese folklore "Momotaro," the denim label's namesake.

Do you know "two lines" in Japanese is "Nihon," and "Nihon" (or "Nippon") also means Japan? In Japanese, "Hon" or "Pon" is used in counting long objects like lines. Ippon means one, Nihon means two, Sanbon means three, etc. Thus, "Nihon" means "two lines" or Japan, depending on the context. The two lines painted on the Momotaro "Going to Battle" series denim thus represent Japan and its artisan culture.

The two lines painted on the Momotaro "Going to Battle" series denim also represent the spirits of the Japanese popular folklore hero "Momotaro." The "Momotaro" folklore originates in Okayama, Japan, and is said to have been made in the Muromachi era (1336 to 1573) and become wide spread among the people in the Edo era (1603 to 1868). There are several versions of the story, but the most common version goes as follows. Momotaro came to the earth inside a giant peach, which was found floating down a river by an old, childless woman while washing clothes. The woman and her husband discovered the child when they tried to open the peach to eat it. The child explained he had been sent by heaven to be their son. The couple named him Momotaro, from momo (peach) and taro (eldest son in the family). Years later, Momotaro left to fight a band of marauding oni (ogres) on a distant island and during his quest he carried the flag depicting two lines. Momotaro won a victory and came back to the old couple to live with them happy ever after. In the folklore, the two lines represented Momotaro's courage and loyalty.

The "Momotaro" folklore is in the spirits of the people in Okayama. The two lines painted on the "Going to Battle" series denim represent the Okayama tradition of hard work and artisanship. The two lines also symbolize the courage and loyalty of the Okayama hero "Momotaro." The two lines represent the generations of knowledge, expertise, and hard work artisanship that make many of the Japanese products we love so great.