Japanese Crafts – Amigurumi

Amigurumi sounds like the title of a foreign movie, yet in reality, this type of entertainment has nothing to do with the film industry. Composed from the Japanese words ‘ami’ (crochet, knit or braid) and ‘nuigurumi’ (sew and wrap), Amigurumi is a pastime many crafters worldwide enjoy.

Although it is unclear when Amigurumi was first practiced, the technique has been around for many centuries. Was it invented in China or Japan, nobody exactly knows. The only thing that can really be confirmed is that these cute knitted or crocheted dolls suddenly became a smash hit in the 1970s. Almost overnight, characters like ‘Hello Kitty’ popped, up and stirred up a craze that has lasted till this day.

While first only popular in Japan, the passion for these delightful miniatures has now taken over the world. Almost daily, new Amigurumi designs are being created and bundled into many pattern books. Children love to play with these small dolls, which, by the way, also make great gifts, while adults tend to collect them. To them, it is a challenge to create their own designs, mix up the colors, and add more detail to existing patterns. They will even try to imitate the models they found in foreign books or on websites with instructions written in a language they don’t even understand. It is a passion they just cannot resist.

The Japanese art of crocheting small animals or collectibles is a bit different from the way Western cultures make their toys. In Amigurumi the dolls are crocheted in rounds, spiraling up and never joining. Once the body part has been finished, embellishments are made. All the parts are stuffed and meticulously sewn together.

While there are many crocheted playthings on the market, it is easy to distinguish which ones are Amigurumi, and which ones are not. Just look for an over-sized round head, a funky cylindrical body, adorable limbs, nose, ears, and imaginative embellishments. Some even have a tail. Decorations are usually made in felt, but other materials can also be used. What you use will be a matter of taste, but remember, do not stray off too far from the typical characteristics. If you do, your work may not be recognized as real Amigurumi, and that would be a shame!

Irida Sangemino is an accomplished SEO copywriter and PR specialist with international ties. Familiar with many topics, she writes about a variety of topics, including hobbies and crafts. For writing assignments and other information, contact: irida@wydebeam.com.

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Author: Uzumaki Naruto

Expert tips before traveling Japan, including reviews of Japanese food and restaurants to help you make your trip as enjoyable and rewarding as possible.

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