Asanoha/Asa no ha (hemp leaf pattern)


Hemp leaf is one of the traditional Japanese patterns.
“Asa” means hemp and “ha” means leaf.
It is a geometric pattern based on a regular hexagon and is named as such because its shape resembles a hemp leaf.

Hemp has been cultivated since ancient times, even before the Christian era, and its seeds were used for food and oil.

In Japan, it was the primary material for clothing among common people until cotton cultivation became prevalent during the Sengoku period (around 1600). Today, hemp is commonly used for summer kimonos.

The Asanoha pattern has been used to adorn Buddhist statues since the Heian period (794-1185 or 1192).
Later, it gained popularity because of its resemblance to a hemp leaf.
The hemp plant grows rapidly, reaching a height of 4 meters in just 4 months, which is why the Asanoha pattern is often used to symbolize the healthy growth of children.

Additionally, this pattern holds the meaning of protection against 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.