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Motif Information
Motif araiso 01.jpg
Rōmaji Araiso
English Jumping Carp & Wave
Kanji 荒磯文様
Kana あらいそ
Season Primarily Summer
Seasonal Exceptions All seasons
Auspicious Yes
Motif Type Sea Animal, Scenery

Often romanized as Ariso

Technically, the name of this motif is Iso Ara - Pattern of reef coast or stormy windswept shore, but the motif is nearly always shown as having carp jumping out of the crashing/breaking waves, to the point where the two motifs have become intertwined. It is most commonly seen on spring and summer items, but can also be found on fully lined winter items.

The motif was initially of Chinese origin, and was brought to Japan and made popular when it was brought over on damask fabrics during the Azuchi-Muromachi era.

Seasonal Use, Exceptions & Pairings

Common Motif Pairings

The crashing waves motif nowadays is nearly always paired with jumping koi, to the point where they have merged into one cohesive design.

Auspicious Nature

Due to the inclusion of the jumping koi this considered is an auspicious motif, especially for holidays such as Boy's Day. It is considered to bring luck, success in life, and prayers for growth. [1]

Motif Examples

Motif in Literature & Other Usage

In Poetry

In its base form (without the inclusion of the fish), Iso Ara is mentioned in the Manyoshu.


Iso no saki kogitamiyukeba Ōmi no umi yaso no minato ni tazu sawa ni naku

As we row around the rocky headland, cranes are crying in flocks in the many inlets of Lake Biwa. [2]

Article Notes

Relevant Threads / Discussions


  1. Patterns and meanings for furoshiki (Japanese)
  2. Manyoshu Best 100 Explanations

Image Credits

Authors & Contributors

Author/s: Diane Quintal (Moonblossom (IG Username))

Contributors: n/a