|Kanji|| 矢羽, 矢羽根
Yabane represents the fletching on an arrow, although sometimes the shaft is also depicted.
Yabane or yagasuri patterns have been popular in Japan since the Heian era. Originally yabane was popular as a motif on men's clothing due to its close association with kyudo, Japanese archery, but has always been popular with women as well. During the Edo era small scale kasuri yabane was popular as servants' livery.  By the Meiji era it had become highly associated with the "Meiji schoolgirl" look- a yabane komon worn under hakama with a modern hairstyle held back with a ribbon.
Yabane today are almost exclusively found on women's items. The only places you may still see them on men's items are small scale on the hanao of geta or as a large scale motif on a juban, often containing other motifs within the outline.
Seasonal Use, Exceptions & Pairings
Yabane, like most geometric motifs, is all season. The main determinant of when a yabane kimono can be worn is whether it is lined.
Yabane has an auspicious association with weddings, since like an arrow shot from a bow a bride does not return to her parents' house. In Buddhist tradition a bow and arrow represent weapons against evil. Yabane is also loosely associated with hamaya, the "demon quelling" arrows sold as good luck charms at Shinto shrines at New Years and the broken off fletching of an arrow is widely regarded as a charm for repelling bad luck.
Small scale red yabane komon
Blue komon with white, yellow, and pink yabane
Magenta komon with both black dyed yabane and subtly woven yabane from the collection of BikaBika
A few variations on yabane obijime
Motif in Literature & Other Usage
When yabane is combined with ume it recalls the episode in Genpei Seisui ki when Kajiwara Genta Kagesue stops to break off a branch of early blooming ume to carry in his quiver into the battle of Ichi-no-Tani (一の谷).  This incident is commemorated in the Noh play, Ebira no ume (Plum Quiver) and the kabuki play, Genta.
Relevant Threads / Discussions
- Allen, Jeanne. Designer's Guide to Japanese Patterns. Kawade Shobo Shinsha Publishing. 1984. p.92.
- Four Centuries of Fashion: Classical Kimono from the Kyoto National Museum. Asian Art Museum of San Francisco. 1997. p.70.
- JAANUS article on Ebira-no-ume. Accessed December 2, 2016.
- Bebe Taian
Authors & Contributors
Author/s: tzippurah (IG Username)