Asanoha/Asa no ha (hemp leaf pattern)


Hemp leaf is one of the Japanese traditional patterns.
“Asa” means hemp and “ha” means leaf.
It’s a geometric pattern based on a regular hexagon, and called like this because the shape is similar to a hemp leaf.

Hemp has been cultivated since the days before Christ, and the its fruit was used for food and fat.

Hemp was the main material of clothing for the common people until cotton was cultivated in the Sengoku period (around 1600).
Today hemp is used as a summer kimono.

It’s a pattern that has been used to decorate Buddhist statues since the Heian period (794 – 1185 or 1192) .
Later, it became popular because it resembles hemp leaf.
The tree grows straight towards the sky and to 4m in 4 months, so the pattern of Asanoha is often used to wish for children’s healthy growth.

Also, this pattern has the meaning of a protection from harm or evil spirits.

hemp leaf

Nezuko, who is the heroine of a Japanese popular anime “Kimetsu no yaiba,” or “Demon Slayer,” wears also kimono with hemp leaf pattern.

Asanoha pattern is also used in the design of the uniform of Japan’s national team at Rugby World Cup 2019 as with Seigaiha.