As much as Japan occasionally gets it oh so very wrong with odd Engrish words on t-shirts and store signs, it’s not unusual to see non-Japanese-speaking people with a cool kanji tattoo or clothing, only to discover that the characters mean something quite ridiculous (like feet, or toilet).

While we understand that some people, both Japanese and not, value the “look” of the script over the actual meaning, it wouldn’t hurt to get something that’s both gorgeous and sensible in meaning. That might be one reason why Japanese designer and calligrapher Saori Kunihiro’s hiragana-inspired jewelry are so explosively popular. A type of phonetic Japanese script unique to Japan, the soft and flowing shape of hiragana presents as stunning, unique accessories.


Source: Makuake

Last May, Kunihiro successfully raised funds for her first series of hiragana accessories in just one day. She is currently raising funds for her second lineup, which features new words and designs. These are just some:



Source: Makuake

"I love you"


Source: Makuake



Source: Makuake

Brass → gold and silver

While the first round of hiragana accessories were made with brass, they now come in either 10-karat gold or 925 sterling silver.


Source: Makuake

Available in different types of jewelry

Originally only available as earrings, her designs can now be enjoyed as earrings, necklaces, rings, bracelets, pins, and obidome kimono sash accessories.


Source: Makuake

More compact

Lengths of the jewelry have changed too, and have become much smaller and more versatile. Earrings used to be 7.7 centimeters long (3 inches), but are now just 3.8 centimeters (1.5 inches) in length.


Source: Makuake

You can contribute to Kunihiro’s crowdfunding page here, where rewards include a handful of her designs, and even a calligraphy lesson!


Source: Makuake


Source: Makuake


Source: Makuake

By - grape Japan editorial staff.