Furoshiki has a lot of possibilities

Isao Yokoyama

Isao Yokoyama

- Furoshiki -

Isao YOKOYAMA was born in 1979 in Asakusa, Tokyo, Japan, and graduated from Musashino Art Univercity. Since he was captured by furoshiki, has created new ways of wrapping. Not only he suggests new life style with furoshiki, but also makes furoshiki by himself. He is good at nanba-walking. He appears on various kinds of media such as TV, radio, and magazines.


Why did you start to use furoshiki?

 There were so many wrapping papers and paper bags in my closet. I tried to reuse them but did not have any ideas. One day, I realized Japanese traditional wrapping cloth furoshiki was good because I could use it repeatedly. I had been looking for a furoshiki and found it in my grand mother’s closet finally. After that I went traveling with it instead of bag and was so excited that it is a really useful thing!

  I have traveled abroad with a furoshiki but had never been pickpocketed. I think carrying a furoshiki is safer than a bag because most foreigners have never seen one before, they don't know what it is. Also, if a thief snatched it, it would really stand out. Furoshikis are often compared with reusable bags, but I disagree. We should recognize a bag as one way of using a furoshiki. A simple square of cloth can transform into all kinds of shapes and uses.


Since when have Japanese used furoshiki?

 I guess we have used a furoshiki since the Jomon period, over 2,000 years ago, but at that time it did not have a name. The first time it was called furoshiki was in the Muromachi period, around 450-700 years ago.

 I feel romance in the Jomon period. Many things are unknown about this period but it is said that there were no class, discrimination nor conflict in the society. They always had to live with the fear of death. The Jomon vessel and clay having strange shapes might be the expression of pleasure and ring of life. They are artists.

 Based on this era, Japan has founded, I feel. Although many kinds of cultures came from China to Japan, we could change it to Japanese style because we already had strong base of culture.


What kind of materials were used in the Jomon period?

 They normally used hemp. Hemp clothes are well ventilated and really warm. I think when the cotton became popular was in the Edo period, 400-140 years ago. The ancients tried to make good use of material adapting to the climate. High humidity in Japan tends to damage the shape of clothes. That is the reason why they came up with the idea of not changing the shape, but changing the way of use.

 I usually repair old kimono by myself because in store I can’t find any clothes I want to wear. And Japanese traditional wear, fundoshi and obi are also good to lower centre of body balance.


What is the point to get your centre of body balance lower?

 You should not think about that just focusing on your bottom and using this part. Using obi which is Japanese traditional cloth item is good because it makes our bottom stronger and keeps from the cold. I have traveled Japanese city Kyoto with the Japanese traditional shoes. It was so difficult to keep the balance that I needed to concentrate. And then I realized that we can’t worry about anything else when we are focusing to something.


From when have you focused to the body?

 Actually, when I was a child, I was not good at walking and running smoothly, and then searched and tried the easy way to do, finally reached nanba-walking that is Japanese traditional walking style. And while walking, we should stretch a forefinger to relax.
Originally, our body has already had knowledge and skill for living and could be tough. Our body is not weak and have many ability and possibility.


What do you think there are many unattractive people in Japan in recent years?

 People tend to pray and be in mind when the society is in chaos. However the problem we have had been caused by the science after Industrial revolution. It is like just to burn incense in messy room. We should do what we have to do steadily.

 We can’t think any other things with feeling a need to urinate. After doing things we have to do step by step, could find the next way.

And then we should care ourselves, and put in order around you every time for feeling comfortable yourself. Unless your condition is good enough, you can’t do the same to the others around you. It is important not being arrogant, but keeping yourself in a good condition.


Furoshiki can be used for putting in order around us.

 It is very useful thing for us. I want children to learn how to use furoshiki more and hope many people will use it daily.

 If you can’t find your favorite design, should buy favorite textile and make your own furoshiki. And you should create your original one with your own flexibility, do not just remember how to tie. This kind of knowledge is useful under emergency. Recently, I created new rucksack made from just one piece of furoshiki. It has a large repertoire as origami.


 Indigo using for dyeing

Please give us one more word before the closing

 I can’t find any words now… anyway, I try to find the word by using my lucky item. White, animal, not cold, like fish, too large… In conclusion, it is a whale. Whale is big, and…

My last message is “Have big dream because the man have infinity possibility”

 ivj_001yoko7by Isao Yokoyama






Q As you were a child, What did you want to be?
I wanted to run a pet shop because I like living creatures
Q What do you want to have the most now?
I want to have a home garden
Q What is the most impressing thing in your life?
The story my grandfather told he swum in the Sumida Riv.
Q What do you think good and bad point of Japan?
Liks: Riches of the nature / Dislike: Loss of each area’s characteristics
Q If you were born again, What would you want to be?
I want to reborn a Frog and explore a rice field
Q What is your favorite word?
All for one, One for all