SAORI Ishonomaki

Blossom Banner arrives in Japan

Back in April at the Blossom Festival on Salt Spring Island, I invited people to weave a “Blossom Banner” to send to the people of Japan as a message of hope for their recovery from the earthquake and tsunami.

When I went to Hawaii later in April, I met with Kenzo and Naoto Jo of SAORI No Mori and presented the Blossom Banner to them to take back to Japan. Sendai was the place that we kept hearing about in the news from Japan after the earthquake and tsunami. I also had a connection to Sendai as I had sent a Peace Banner there in the past for SAORI Peace Weave 2008.

When the banner arrived in Japan, Akiko Jo asked me if it would be alright if the banner went to some other SAORI studios before finally going to Sendai. She told me about one of the SAORI studios in a smaller centre, Ishinomaki (see note below), that had been devastated by the tsunami.

2011 Tsunami Japan

2011 Tsunami Japan

Of course, it would be totally fine with me – and all those who wove it too I’m sure. The intention in the weaving of the banner was to bring hope and good wishes for recovery to the people in Japan – so wherever that may be needed was certainly a good thing and I felt very honoured.

Akiko translated the posts about the banner from my blog into Japanese and Kenzo took the banner to the grand re-opening of the studio.

The owner of the studio had a very difficult time during the tsunami, but really wanted to re-open her studio. From Akiko’s email:

The owner of the studio is Ms. Emiko Oikawa.
The name of her studio is SAORI Weaving Studio “Yokisha”.
“Yokisha” is made of three Kanji (Chinese) characters, and each character means “give”, “joy” and “building”.
So they mean that “the studio gives joy to the visitors”.

Ms. Oikawa is so energetic to re-open her studio only 3 months after the disaster. As you can see on some of the photos, the streets of her neighborhood are still filled with the remaining wreckage, including some boats. The wreckage carried around by the Tsunami reached the height of the traffic lights, and damaged them.


Photos from the opening….

SAORI Ishonomaki

Akiko also says in her note:

Everyone who attended the reception looked at them and were impressed by
the kind thoughts brought with the banner all the way from Canada.

This is a weaving done by Kenzo Jo and his colleagues at Saori no Mori in Osaka, Japan also for the opening. They did double-cloth weaving on both looms, so the width of this tapestry is 240cm (four times 60cm).

We wish Ms. Oikawa and all of the visitors to the studio much hope and joy.”

Now the banner will travel to other studios before going to Sendai.

Thank you to all the weavers who participated in weaving the Blossom Banner – it now continues on it’s relay through Japan!

Happy Weaving,

My website:

Note from Wikipedia on Ishinomaki:

The city was among the most seriously affected by the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami.] A tsunami about 10 meters high traveled 600 meters inland and destroyed around 80% of the 700 houses in the coastal whaling port of Ayukawa and district of Kadonowaki. Approximately 46% of the city was inundated by the tsunami. One elementary school, Okawa Elementary, was completely destroyed, killing 74 of 108 students and 10 of 13 teachers and staff. As of 17 June 2011 a total of 3,097 deaths had been confirmed in Ishinomaki due to the tsunami, with 2,770 unaccounted for. The earthquake shifted the city southeast and downward, lowering it by as much as 1.2 m in some areas and causing it to flood twice daily at high tide.

5 replies
  1. Noreen Crone-Findlay
    Noreen Crone-Findlay says:

    I am so touched and moved by reading this, Terri. I wish Ms Oikawa the greatest of success in her re-built studio. May it bring her friends and fellow weavers peace and harmony. I hope that the rebuilding of Ishinomaki will bring healing. I can’t imagine the depth of grief that the people of Ishinomaki must be feeling. Thank you so much for bringing us this personal glimpse of their lives so that we can hold them in our hearts!
    With love, Noreen

  2. terri
    terri says:

    It is an amazing journey. When Akiko asked if the banner could go to the opening of this studio – of course I said yes, and felt so honoured.

    To see the photos of the devastation and then the bright green studio of hope was so moving!

    I hope that there is much Happy Weaving there…


  3. Kaz
    Kaz says:

    Thanks Terri for this blog posting. It’s humbling and encouraging to know that weaving can contribute in some small way to creating some hope and normality to this disasterous event. There is a limit to words in these circumstances

  4. terri
    terri says:

    Thanks Kaz. It started when the World Peace Forum was in Vancouver – they were looking for speakers to talk about Peace. I didn’t have anything to say with words, but feel so strongly about it. One night the idea of weaving for peace came to me and wouldn’t go away. I kept saying ‘not me, I’ve never done that’ – but the idea persisted and insisted. I kept thinking about the colours, the hands, the threads, the dreams, thoughts and prayers for peace and the metaphor of weaving just seemed to fit.

    So I approached the organizers with the idea to weave for peace and they loved it and it was so amazing to take my loom and offer the opportunity to people to weave for peace. The idea has grown.

    When the devastation happened in Japan and then our Blossom Festival was scheduled in early April – it just seemed like the thing to do – offer people a chance to weave for hope and recovery – weaving in the blossom colours and their prayers and thoughts for the people of Japan. I didn’t know when it started how many lives it may touch – it continues to amaze me – the power of SAORI weaving!


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