Hakoseko (a box shaped accessory) and Futokorogatana (a dagger)

Have you ever heard of the term Hakoseko (筥迫)?

Hakoseko is a box shaped accessory for brides, or girls at Shichi-go-san occasion (七五三, festival day in Japan for three and seven year-old girls and three and five year-old boys). Originally, Hakoseko was merely a folded thick paper to hold a comb and a mirror in-between to bring, and was very common in the Edo era. Later, it became a must item for female formal attire and has become to be called Hakoseko.

In history dramas on TV, sometimes we see women carry Futokorogatana (懐刀, dagger) between the layer of their collars. These daggers are for ladies of Samurai clans in case of conquest by enemies. It is said that all female members of Samurai clans were taught the method of killing themselves. In old times, Japanese people chose to die rather than to live with humiliation. Today, Futokorogatana has become merely an accessory for brides.

Last year, I attended an wedding of my relatives. It was very interesting because it was held during the period of the Gion Matsuri (祇園祭り, the most famous and large scaled festival in Kyoto which lasts for a month in July), on the balcony of Tsuki Hoko (月鉾, one of the float of Gion festival). My eyes were caught by the bride's Hakoseko and the Futokorogatana with beautiful moon shaped embroideries (shown in the picture below).

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