“Kanzashi” (hair accessories) are as old as Japan, but it is said that women at the ancient palace in Kyoto started making them using leftover kimono cloth. It was later, during the Edo era, when tsumami zaiku spread to east Japan and became a professional craft.
Edo, another name for ancient Tokyo, became a major production area. “Daimyo” (local warlords) were required to visit the shogun in Edo once every 2 years, and tsumami zaiku accessories became very popular home-coming gifts for their families.
In the early 20th century, tsumami zaiku actually became an optional part of a girl’s education. It was taught in schools as a kind of elective. Nowadays, though, Japanese women have adopted a more western style of fashion for everyday life. Tsumami zaiku accessories are mainly worn at traditional festivals and celebrations along with kimono or yukata. Because Japan has so many holidays, girls who love to dress in traditional Japanese clothing will usually also have a collection of beautiful kanzashi.