What color is the sun? You might answer that it’s yellow, or orange, or white. However, when asked this question most Japanese are likely to answer “red,” perhaps because of the red circle on the Japanese flag, called 日の丸 hi-no-maru or circle-of-the-sun. It’s interesting to look at other ways the color red has special cultural meaning to the Japanese. Babies are thought to be red-colored when they pop out of their mothers, and 赤ちゃん aka-chan is the most common way to refer to a baby in Japanese. In lieu of signing their names with a pen Japanese use a kanji “name stamp” called a hanko which uses red ink, though it’s very bad form to write someone’s name with a red pen, as it’s thought they’ll die if you do that. Red is the primary color you’ll see when you visit a Shinto shrine, including the red Daruma dolls and torii arches, and lovers are said to be connected by an 運命の赤い糸 unmei no akai ito or Red String of Fate, an invisible red thread tied to their pinkies. Red is also the color of celebration in Japan, and it’s common for families to eat 赤飯 sekihan or red rice with beans in it to celebrate life’s important events, such as a wedding or a daughter’s first, er, “flowering,” to use the G.R.R. Martin term. If you want to try this rice (which is delicious, not sweet at all as some Japanese beans are), we have it in stock now.
Yes, definitely red.