Kake-mamori, a traveler's amulet case.

Recently the subject came up on the Tousando on how best to carry one's personal items when portraying a Japanese. One can only stuff so much into the front of one's kosode and we ladies have it even worse since our sleeves aren't sewn up the back into convenient pockets!

This image from the Kyoto Costume Museum shows a woman dressed for travel. Hanging around her neck on a cord is a sausage shaped bundle identified as a kake-mamori. As far as I have been able to determine, this translates to "amulet case."


Of course, if I were really a lady of rank, I would have servants to shlep my things for me, but in practice, this is not the case. There are times when one simply must go to Merchant's Row and all that.

The following method should produce something resembling a kake-mamori that won't scatter your belongings all over an event site.This one is big enough to hold a billfold, set of keys and a cell phone since that's what folks seemed to indicate were most essential to be able to carry easily. There's probably also room for lip balm, a tube of Advil tablets and a couple of throat drops....

Two pieces of fabric about 12" x 18".
Two yards of round braided cord (this is long enough for you to have fudge room depending how short or long you want to tie the strap).
One piece of old cardboard tube from Christmas that hadn't made it out to the curb yet. Yes. I know. Interfacing would also work.

I sewed the fabric face to face around three sides, then turned it inside out. I marked a "pocket" on the lining and basted stitches along three sides of that, inserted the cardboard, then tacked the fourth side down.

At this point, it's simply a matter of folding the raw edges of the open side under and stitching that closed

Next you turn it into a "Christmas Cracker". Roll the fabric around the cardboard inside the lining to form a closed tube. Knot off one end of your cord to prevent fraying, then tie it off tightly around one end. Pick up the tube, toss the cord around the back of your neck and see how high/low you'd like the finished kake-mamori to hang when you carry it, then tie the cord tightly at the right length on the other end. Make another anti-fraying end knot and cut off any excess cord.


I am pleased to report that no personal items were lost during Estrella War 24 when my kake-mamori went out several times for a field test. 

Copyright 2008, Lisa A. Joseph


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