The meaning of traditional Japanese patterns

< Lucky Patterns >

Since ancient times, people have entrusted their wishes in the patterns of kimono and obi. That is how lucky patterns were created.  “Kissho” means “good omen.” These patterns are especially considered “to bring luck and fortune” and “a good omen”.


・Their gorgeous form is considered as an analogy to the beauty of women.

・Butterflies go through several life stages and end up with beautiful wings.  How they flutter in the sky is considered a good omen.  Butterfly patterns have been one of the popular lucky patterns since ancient times.

・Their metamorphosis is also considered as implications to “resurrection” “rebirth” “transformation” “promotion” “immortality” and “longevity”.

・Butterfly patterns can also simply imply wishes for “good luck” or “healthy growth”.

・Patterns of two butterflies fluttering together in the sky imply wishes for happy marriage.


【Mandarin duck】

・Mandarin duck is considered a symbol of love.  A couple of mandarin ducks staying close to each other is a lucky pattern wishing for a loving partnership, happy marriage and eternal love. 


Peacock / A pair of Peacocks

・Because peacocks are omnivores and eat harmful insects, they are considered as an animal of a high vitality that can eat evil spirits and drive away bad luck.

・Gorgeous peacock patterns are a symbol of “love and beauty”, “popularity”, “happiness”, and “fortune and prosperity.”

・They are so fertile that their patterns could also imply wishes for “fertility” and “prosperity of descendants''.  When there is a couple, it implies wishes for “happy marriage”.



・A symbol of nobility, cranes are said to live a thousand years.  Their lucky patterns are considered mysterious and imply “vitality” and “longevity”.

・Once they become a couple, they stay together until the end.  Therefore,their patterns can mean “happy marriage” and “long lived life”.


Chinese phoenix

・The phoenix is ​​a legendary auspicious bird that is said to "appear when a peaceful and happy world is realized," and has the meaning of "peace" and "marital harmony."  Because of its splendid and graceful appearance, it has been widely liked for a long time since the Asuka period (approx. 6-8th Century), and is revered as a "prestigious and noble auspicious pattern".



・Because its round shape reminds of the sun, this flower pattern is ranked highest as a noble lucky pattern and implies “perennial youth and long life” and “prosperity of descendants”.

・This pattern also means “sound health” “warding off evil” “cleanse” and “stability of the mind and body”.


French marigold

・This is a simplified version of chrysanthemum.  Its round shape implies “infinity” and “a good relationship”.  Its sophisticated beauty makes it a very popular lucky pattern.


Flower patterns

・This pattern is gorgeous design called a flower crest.  It is a gorgeous pattern with a round shape, abstracted from a flower.  It is a very auspicious pattern and is often used on a sash of formal kimono wear.



・Peony flowers “king of flowers” are loved as a sign of rich harvest and imply “happiness”, “fortune and prosperity”, “nobility”, “beauty”, “immortality” and “perennial youth and long life”.


Cherry Blossoms (Sakura)

・Cherry blossoms imply the end of the cold winter, and the beginning of the spring time.  Therefore, such a pattern means “the beginning” and “the start of the new (good) life”.  Also, cherry blossom viewing used to be an event to wish for the harvest, therefore, this pattern can also imply “wealth”.  Also the fullness of bloom can imply ”prosperity”.


Japanese apricot

・How the Japanese plum trees endure the harsh winter and bloom beautifully and fragrantly overlaps with the "strength and preciousness of the mother" who gives birth and raises a child.  It is a happy pattern as a "symbol of patience" and a "symbol of vitality". Beautiful and powerful plum blossoms also have the meaning of "female dignity and strength," "patience," "beauty," and "prayer for safe delivery."



・Since it does not die in winter, bamboo represents "immortality," "longevity," "strength," etc., and it is also a symbol of "prosperity of descendants" because it sprouts one after another and increases the number. In addition, since the inside of the stem is hollow, it also has the meaning of "innocence".  


Broadleaf bamboo

・Sasa (Broadleaf bamboo), which has the property of extending straight toward the heavens, has been considered to be a sacred thing.  It is also used as a Tanabata Festival decoration to make it easier for gods and ancestors in the sky to receive wishes. Sasa is often used to decorate the storefront, believed to bring about "prosperity of business".


 Wave peaks

・The endless waves is a lucky pattern that means “immortality” “longevity” and “birth”.

・The vibrant waves that come and go also imply wishes for “strong will” and “undefeated spirit”.


Geometric patterns

・This is one of the geometric patterns.


【Circle (En)】

・Circles have no beginning and no ending, therefore, they are an implication for “perfection” and “unity” as well as “infinite growth” and are considered extremely lucky. The sound in Japanese “en” has the same sound as the word “a good relationship”, so the circle patterns are a popular choice in wedding kimonos.


【Shichi-Ho (Seven Treasures)】

・Shichi-Ho implies seven treasures, namely, gold, silver and some gemstones (the type of gemstones can vary). The repeated pattern of a circle is considered as precious as the seven treasures. The repeated pattern of a circle overlapped by one quarter is a lucky pattern that implies “happiness” “harmony” and “a good relationship by chance”. It is a very popular pattern that can also mean “distinction” “wealth and fame” and “endless prosperity of the descendants”.