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Motif Information
Motif ichimatsu 01.png
Rōmaji Itchimatsu
English Checks/Checkers
Kanji 市松
Kana いちまつ
Season All-season
Seasonal Exceptions None
Auspicious No
Motif Type Geometric

Ichimatsu can refer to either a checkerboard pattern or a plaid.

Ichimatsu has used since ancient times as a design motif in Japan. In the Heian period, a form of it known as ishidatami-mon (石畳文, paving stone motif) was particularly popular. [1] Ishidatami-mon is a form of small scale ichimatsu composed of alternating groupings of four smaller squares in two colors. A simple small scale checkerboard pattern during this same period was known as arare (霰, hail). Examples of of both of these variations are preserved in Shōsōin.

Ichimatsu Sanogawa, an Osakan actor, is credited with bringing ichimatsu into fashion among the urban middle class in 1741. [2] Ichimatsu remains popular in the theatre and can be found rendered with metallic threads on odori obi.

Seasonal Use, Exceptions & Pairings

As this is a geometric motif, it has no specific seasonal use.

Motif Examples

Motif in Literature & Other Usage

Article Notes

Relevant Threads / Discussions


  1. Ishidatami-mon at JAANUS
  2. Noma, Seiroku. Japanese Costume and Textile Arts. Weatherhill/Heibonsha. New York. Fourth printing, 1980. p.40.

Image Credits

Authors & Contributors

Author/s: tzippurah (IG Username)