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Thread: Random bits of information about sewing Rakusus

  1. #1

    Random bits of information about sewing Rakusus

    Hi Folks,

    At the beginning of Tomoe Katagiri's writings on Rakusu's she gives the measurements for sewing in inches (which she uses throughout), CM and the traditional Japanese measure Bu. There are 10 Bu in a Shu, and 10 Shu in a Shaku. A Bu is 3.030 mm. The measurements in CM are quite different than those given in Inches when you convert. And I could never make any sense of the Bu measures because it seemed to indicate a Rakusu that was about 8 inches wide. It doesn't help that there is a typo on the page. So I kind of gave up looking into that.

    Also, in a related note, her Rakusu differs from ours in design. It is harder to find examples on line but this is what her's tend to look like

    katagiri style.jpg

    Note the much larger gap between Yos. And it is funny to me that SFZC teaches Rakusu sewing that matches our design. And yet Tomoe Katagiri started the sewing there. Which makes me wonder when it changed.

    Anyway, I was searching the web for information about Nyoho-e and somehow came across a thread where Jundo gave a link to a Japanese site that had instructions on how to sew a Rakusu (in Japanese).

    http://www.kogonji.jp/fukudenkai/3/3.html

    And in this link they give the measurements in what look like Sun. And because their design also looked like the one that Tomoe uses I matched them up and their measurement and layout match her's perfectly.

    So I translated the page with Google trying to learn more about their measurements and it was translated as "Whale Scale". I figured that had to be some weird translation error but I got searching. I finally found a reference in an old military text from the 1940s of all places - eventually confirmed by Wikipedia.

    It turns out that Tailors in Japan used their own measurement variant. Don't know why. The also used Bu, Sun, and Shaku. But for the Tailors a Sun = 1.25 times a standard Sun (and so on for the other measures).

    And in them olden days the rulers that Tailors used were made from Baleen. Yes, whale. And so it is called the Whale scale.

    Also in my searching I found this great interview with Tomoe

    http://www.cuke.com/Cucumber%20Proje...ews/tomoe.html

    And in it she says that Katagiri Roshi was the one that advocated using Nyoho-e, he had used it in Japan, and he convinced Shunryu Suzuki to adopt the approach and have students start sewing their own Rakusu. I never knew that connection before.

    So I figured there might be a picture of him wearing the Tomoe style Rakusu and so I searched. I found two pictures, here is one.

    wb-dk.78.jpg

    Yup, that is our style not the one Tomoe taught.

    Someday I would like to know the story behind these two designs.

    Oh, and I also ran across this t shirt for sale in Japan.

    essay_know_14004_03.jpg



    Also in the book there were references to Japanese measures of Area called Tan and Cho. With Cho being larger than Tan. I wonder if that is where the names come from. Areas of the "rice field".

    Gassho, Shinshi

    SaT-LaH
    Last edited by Shinshi; 10-18-2019 at 11:35 PM.
    空道 心志 Kudo Shinshi
    I am just a priest-in-training, any resemblance between what I post and actual teachings is purely coincidental.

  2. #2
    Ok that is a whole bunch of neat info. Thank you Shinshi!! I want the T-shirt! LOL

    Gassho,
    Jakuden
    SatToday/LAH
    清 道 寂田
    SEIDO JAKUDEN
    I am a novice priest. Any resemblance my posts may have to actual teachings about the Dharma, living or dead, is purely coincidental (and just my attempt to be helpful).

  3. #3
    Wow very interesting! Thanks for sharing it.

    I also now desire the T-shirt. Well that is one more desire to drop on the cushion haha.

    Gassho,

    Junkyo
    SAT

    Sent from my Pixel 3a using Tapatalk

  4. #4
    Member Onka's Avatar
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    Shinshi is on fire today!
    Thanks for the history. I too want the t-shirt lol.
    Gassho
    Anna
    Sat

    Sent from my Lenovo TB-8304F1 using Tapatalk
    穏 On (Calm)
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    No Gods. No Masters.

  5. #5
    Great post with many interesting infos! Thank you Shinshi

    Gassho
    Washin
    sat today
    Kaido (有道) Every Way
    Washin (和信) Harmony Trust
    ----
    I am a novice priest-in-training. Anything what I say must not be considered as teaching
    and should be taken with a 'grain of salt'.

  6. #6
    I forgot to mention that when you use the Whale Scale measurements the Rakusu measurements in Bu/Sun match up almost exactly with the measurements that Tomoe Katagiri gives in inches. As close as you could get. She labels the CM measurements as for a Large Rakusu, while the Bu/Inches version is for a Standard. But it isn't clear to me why going from a Standard to a Large would necessitate a change is ratios. I think I'll see if I can figure that out next.

    Down the road I would like to see if I can figure out why the spacing is different between the Yos. That actually carries over into our version of the Kesa vs the design in the Katagiri document.

    Gassho, Shinshi

    SaT-LaH
    空道 心志 Kudo Shinshi
    I am just a priest-in-training, any resemblance between what I post and actual teachings is purely coincidental.

  7. #7
    Really interesting! Thank you for looking into this, Shinshi!

    Gassho
    Kokuu
    -sattoday/lah-
    ------------------------------------
    Feel free to message me if you wish to talk about issues around practicing with physical limitations. This is something I have been sitting with for a fair while and am happy to help with suggestions or just offer a listening ear.

  8. #8
    Way cool! Fascinating. Thanks for your curiosity and diligence, Shinshi.

    Gassho
    Byōkan
    sat + lah
    Please take my words with a big grain of salt. I know nothing. Wisdom is only found in our whole-hearted practice together.

  9. #9
    Ok, last tidbit I think.

    In the Katagiri document she gives measurements for Standard in Bu, Standard in inches and then for the Cm measurements the column is labeled Large. I have always taken that to mean it would produce a larger Rakusu, but it doesn't.

    The Standard and the Large are essentially the same size. They only differ by 2 cm in width and less than 2 mm in height so you couldn't tell them apart just by looking at them individually if you only look at the external dimensions.

    So the only thing that really differs is the layout. And, if you use here Large measurements, you can't get any different layout than the one we use. In other words, if you use her "Large" measurements you get the style of Rakusu that we sew.

    There are two differences between the two styles. If we use a common metric of cm, for the Standard version the Yos are 1.9 cm wide, while for the Large they are 2.5 cm. So the width of Yos are larger for the Large.

    The only other real difference (but it is very noticeable) is that for the Large version the distance between the horizontal Yos is 2.5 cm - the same as the width of the Yo. For the the Standard version the distance between the Yos is roughly the same regardless as to whether they run horizontally or vertically. So there is much more space between the horizontal Yos for the Standard, and the Yos are narrower/smaller.

    I still have no idea why this is true. But it is clear that she introduced both styles, but only focuses on the Standard in her document.

    But now it makes more sense to me that SFZC produces Rakusu that look like ours. They are just using the Large version from her document.

    So there isn't a Katagiri style vs our style as I thought. Both styles are there in her document, for some reason the Large version seems to have become more prevalent.

    Oh, and I found that they still sell Whale scale rulers in Japan. I might order one.

    Gassho, Shinshi

    SaT-LaH
    空道 心志 Kudo Shinshi
    I am just a priest-in-training, any resemblance between what I post and actual teachings is purely coincidental.

  10. #10
    Just in case anyone is interested I found folks selling Bu Rulers (whale scale version) in Japan. I ordered one and it arrived a couple of days ago.



    10 Bu works out to being really close to 1.5 inches.

    Gassho, Shinshi

    SaT-LaH
    空道 心志 Kudo Shinshi
    I am just a priest-in-training, any resemblance between what I post and actual teachings is purely coincidental.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Shinshi View Post
    Just in case anyone is interested I found folks selling Bu Rulers (whale scale version) in Japan. I ordered one and it arrived a couple of days ago.



    10 Bu works out to being really close to 1.5 inches.

    Gassho, Shinshi

    SaT-LaH
    Hi Shinshi!

    Very cool. Could you like to where you ordered it from?

    Gassho,

    Junkyo
    SAT

    Sent from my Pixel 3a using Tapatalk

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Junkyo View Post
    Hi Shinshi!

    Very cool. Could you like to where you ordered it from?

    Gassho,

    Junkyo
    SAT

    Sent from my Pixel 3a using Tapatalk
    This isn't the exact one I ordered, I got a shorter one. But this is where I ordered from.

    https://global.rakuten.com/en/store/...hin/item/3332/

    Gassho, Shinshi

    SaT-LaH
    空道 心志 Kudo Shinshi
    I am just a priest-in-training, any resemblance between what I post and actual teachings is purely coincidental.

  13. #13
    Wow. I wish Taigu was around to join this discussion. I feel like we should make sure all this information is kept somewhere we can find it easily for reference, maybe at some point sum it up as an information document and post a link to it every year in the sewing forum for those interested in knowing more details?

    Gassho,
    Jakuden
    SatToday/LAH
    清 道 寂田
    SEIDO JAKUDEN
    I am a novice priest. Any resemblance my posts may have to actual teachings about the Dharma, living or dead, is purely coincidental (and just my attempt to be helpful).

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