Beautiful hiragana jewelry now available — express yourself by wearing Japanese letters!


If you’ve ever studied Japanese, you’ll know that the written Japanese language is basically made up of three types of characters: hiragana, the original Japanese phonetic alphabet, katakana, a variation of the same alphabet mainly used to write out foreign names and words (including foreign words that have been imported into the Japanese language) and Chinese characters referred to as kanji.

Now, calligraphy turns these letters into works of art on pieces of paper, but how would you like to be able to wear some Japanese characters as stylish jewelry? Well, that’s exactly what you can do with these beautifully formed earrings crafted by designer and calligrapher Saori Kunihro.

What’s truly fascinating about these earrings is that while they certainly offer an exotic and visually interesting form of accessorizing for people unfamiliar with Japanese, at the same time they make even those of us who use the Japanese alphabet every day take a closer look at the letters and rediscover the shapes and curves they contain!


The earrings by Kunihiro are currently being made available through Japanese crowd-funding site Makuake, aptly named since makuake literally means “lifting the stage curtains” and is used to refer to the beginning of something new. The earrings are all based on hiragana characters, and we guess they can be considered, in a way, a form of wearable calligraphy.

The flowing hiragana letters in the earrings form words like “thank you (arigato)”, “beautiful (utsukushii)” and “bond (kizuna)“, and it’s impressive to see such simple words turned into gently curving, even slightly sensual forms.

There are also earrings representing names of locations, such as Shibuya and Tokyo, which should be particularly fun as souvenirs and gifts for overseas visitors.

▼The “beautiful (utsukushii うつくしい)” earrings


▼ The “bond (kizuna きずな)” earrings:


▼ The “Tokyo (とうきょう)” earrings:


▼ And these are the “Shibuya (しぶや)” earrings:


So, what do you think about hiragana turned into pieces of jewelry? It certainly is interesting and refreshing to look at the symbols not as letters but simply as shapes and forms. It makes us see hiragana in a different light, and we thought the letters looked elegant yet sexy. But then, that’s due to the talents of Kunihiro who came up with and executed the ideas for such unique designs. At the moment, the Makuake site seems to be only in Japanese and for collecting support only from within Japan, but if you’re interested, you can support Kunihiro’s project to receive a hiragana earring of your own starting from 10,000 yen (US$83).

Even if flowing gold earrings aren’t your thing, we think Kunihiro’s designs are a delight to see and worth checking out!

Source and photos: Makuake 
Original article by: Anji Tabata (c)Pouch

[ Read in Japanese ]

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