Sayagata (紗綾形) Linked Buddhist Swastikas

Name: Sayagata (紗綾形) Linked Buddhist Swastikas

Seasonal Association: None

When To Wear It: All Year

Auspicious: yes


The sayagata design is derived from a traditional Buddhist swastika, which is known as a manji (卍 or 万字) in Japanese. The first kanji (卍) depicts a Buddhist manji which has the tines facing in a counterclockwise direction. This is the opposite of the Nazi symbol in which the tines face clockwise.   While manji will always face counterclockwise, because sayagata is made up of interlinking manji, you will see manji facing both directions in this design.  This symbol has been used since the neolithic times and across many cultures. In modern day Japan, it is used on maps as a symbol for a Buddhist temple. The second kanji (万字) means “ten thousand words.”


The sayagata is usually used as a background design that is woven into the cloth for solid colored kimono or accessories.  It is especially popular for iromuji kimono or items that use rinzu silk (which also makes it very hard to photograph!). The design consists of interlinking manji, and the manji are always depicted on the diagonal.



New Motifs and an Update!

Hello Everyone!

I feel as if I’ve been neglecting this site, and for that I apologize!  It’s been very busy here.  My town recently finished it’s largest festival of the year called awa odori, I am currently making use of my kitsuke license to give lessons to others once a month, I am now taking wasai lessons twice a month (plus homework!) and I’m working on some larger scale, long-term projects as well (Let’s just say, if you didn’t know I had a youtube account, you may want to check it out now.  It’s going to get interesting in the next few months).  That combined with my regular work (you know, the kind that actually earns me some money) and just living and taking care of the house, well, a lot of things that I have planned find themselves pushed to the back-burner.  Sometimes repeatedly.

With that being said, I decided that today would be a blog day, so I have created a lot of new pages, mostly on motifs, which has been badly neglected since the end of spring!  First, we have nadeshiko a popular flower on yukata and appropriate for summer or autumn kimono.  Next, we have asagao aka morning glory, one of the few flowers that represent summer.  Finally, I’ve started a new category of motifs, geometric patterns.  The first pattern I decided to focus on was the sayagata or linked Buddhist swastikas.

And with all that work, I decided it would be a good idea to let you all know what some of my sources are for motif information.  My library is growing quite large, and I’ve listed the titles I use on a regular basis here so you can check them out yourself.

Hope you have all had an amazing summer!  I know I’m looking forward to the temperature dropping again.  I will definitely have more choice in my kimono wardrobe (I currently only have one full set of summer appropriate kimono, obi, and accessories.  It’s sad.)  And I’m looking forward to all the kimono related activities, articles, blogs, and videos I have planned from here until the end of the year.  It’s going the busy.  Can’t wait!