Natural, smart, sophisticated, convenient and much more is the traditional Japanese Furoshiki cloth. With the rising modern ecological awareness the reusable Furoshiki sees a real revival.
The traditional Furoshiki with its long tradition in a modern setting.
The Japanese bath cloth is called ‘Furoshiki’ in Japanese and its origins lay in the Edo period (1600-1868). At the time the use of those cloths were quite different from today: Since almost no house had a bathroom (with running water), a decent citizen would go to a public bath (sento) every evening. Of course they brought along soap and fresh cloth. These items were wrapped and knotted into a Furoshiki. The name derives from “o-furo”, which translates as bathtub and “shiku”, which means to lay something down. (The cloth was laid down in the dressing room in some kind of shelf or basket to prevent the fresh clothes from getting dirty). In the course of time, Japanese also built bathrooms into the houses so that the Furoshiki lost its meaning.
Resourceful people then diverted the Furoshiki from its original use. Instead of carrying clothes and soap to the sento, they used the cloth as a handbag or as a bag for bento boxes. But with the rise of the precooked meals in plastic wrapping from the conbini the Furoshiki’s purpose was changed again. Because the average citizens’ wealth was rising, Japanese started to use Furoshiki as fancy gift wrapping. Nowadays Furoshiki have regained their popularity and also gained different purposes. Furoshiki can be used as bags, wrappings, scarves, napkins or even as colorful tablecloths (depending on the size).