Kimonos, Mobile Phones and a bit of Communication History


This is so fascinating I wanted to retweet this story from a blog post but only found this in the form of a email news letters. Below is a 100% copy and and paste of it’s contents:

Hello from Japan. This is Kimono Flea Market ICHIROYA’s News Letter No. 471.

Recently, I heard sending photos of items by mobie phone have been prohibited in some antique items dealers’ auction. Older dealers were feeling so bitter about younger dealers sending photos to customers and having `live’ business.’ over the photos they take. Most older dealers are not `mobile phone’ generation. However, who can stop this big stream? Even though they try to stop, it is obvious information warfare is getting keen.

As you may know already, we have many kimono or obi with bird motif in our website. When I see birds design on kimono or obi, it is hard for me to resist from buying.
You can see many fabulous hato(dove or pigeon- in Japan both are called hato) on kimon or obi. They are the symbol of peace but this image is from only after WWII. They were already in Japan even from Asuka era(Asuka era 538-783).

They have been used as `carrier’ after they have been imported in Edo period(Edo 1586-1911). Who used the carrier pigeons? They were merchants. In that era, only couriers or horses were the only means of communication with the person far away.

Pigeons who had the speed, 60 km for an hour must have been a great method to convey information. Merchants needed to know market price of rice or the information of natural disaster before their rivals could know!

Here the same thing happened.. The government at that time prohibited merchants to use carrier pigeons. There is an actual record- some people from stock market has been blamed for using carrier pigeons (to convey the information of rice sale cost in the market)and they have been punished.

However, merchants were tough. If they keep many pigeons at home, they will have attention but instead, they kept pigeons in attic room of old temples. It is so natural scene to see many pigeons around old temples. Nobody would have doubt. Their have been many `hidden` pigeon holes in old temples. For example, one of the old temple in Onomichi city(Hiroshima prefecture)had a hidden room with 200 pigeon holes! Of course the merchants knew they were breaking the law and they would have been punished if they were found. However, to survive in the competitive business world, the information is most precious- the matter of life or death. So they chose old local temples to keep the pigeons. This particular pigeon holes have been found in Higashi Okubo, Onomichi city)- this seems to be the oldest and from late Edo.

They are showing this from September, 2013 to public. I really want to see what the merchants of that period of time did-the information warefare with the risk of their lives!

We are adding charming new arrivals today, we hope you can enjoy browsing our website.

with many kansha,
Ichiro & Yuka Wada
Kimono Flea Market ICHIROYA


address: Asia-shoji Bldg.301
1841-1 Nishi 1 chome
Wakamatsu cho
Tondabayashi city
Osaka 584-0025 JAPAN
TEL&FAX ( international number ) – 81-721-23-5446

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