If someone were to ask us what is one of the most commonly sought after and collected themes among Japanese kimono we would have a few themes to rattle off. Sadly many of the highly desired themes are fairly rare. However there is only very popular theme that is not as difficult to acquire as say...yokai. That theme would be rabbits, or as the Japanese know them as Usagi. All through Japanese folklore rabbits have a presence, and play a variety of roles. Most notable, is that the Japanese do not see a man in the moon. Rather they see a rabbit in the moon, pounding mochi. It is said in Indian legend that Buddha once was a rabbit, and that he sacrificed himself to feed a Hindu god, Indra. As a reward the rabbit was immortalized in the moon.
The rabbit is also one of the 13 animals in the Japanese zodiac. People born in the years of 1999, 1987, 1975, 1963, 1951, 1939, 1927, 1915 are all year of the rabbit. In Japanese folklore the rabbit may grow to be of great age, and once 500 years or older they turn white. White rabbits are an auspicious sign. There is discussion among scholars that the rabbit so often depicted in folklore is not a rabbit. But rather a hare. A Hare is not the same as a rabbit, though they are similar. Commonly the rabbit theme is pared with a few themes related to their lore: the moon being an obvious one, but so too are their paired in art with waves, and the tokusa plant. The most common time of wear to wear usagi is New Years. All the same, many wear them year long, and simply adore this lovely little motif. Over the years we have had in stock a variety of Japanese kimono, haori, and obi that feature the usagi theme. Such items rarely stay in stock long, as they are a favorite among our customers.