Have you heard of the legend akai ito? A famous Asian belief widely held in Japan that indicates that two people are connected by the red thread of fate. In this article, we will do a deep research on this legend and try to answer all the curiosities related to it.
The word akai ito [赤い糸] literally means red thread and applies to a belief / legend of Chinese origin is non-Japanese. According to legend, the gods they tie an invisible red rope around the ankles of men and women who are predestined to be soulmates.
The red thread of Destiny is not necessarily a literal red line. It's like a countdown timer to alert you when you find the perfect person. There are several differences between the Chinese legend and the Japanese legend that we will see in this article.
Origin of the Legend of Akai Ito
The legend says that the red thread can stretch or tie but will never break, no matter how long it takes, the 2 people will meet. In the Japanese version of the legend, we usually find the red thread tied to the couple's smallest finger.
The legend arose in China during the Hokuso Period. It is believed that Yuè Xià Lǎorén, an ancient Lunar God of love and marriage ties these threads together in the birth of people. It is believed that the longer the thread, the farther and sadder the destined people are…
This legend spread throughout Asia, mainly in Japan and was fully incorporated into the country's culture, making appearances in various anime, dramas, manga and films. There is even a drama of the same name, which I recommend taking a look at, it addresses several subjects that help to reflect in life.
Differences from the Chinese and Japanese legend of Akai Ito
The legend is already represented differently in Japan. As already mentioned, instead of a rope around the ankle, in Japan it is a red thread attached to the little finger. THE Japanese version da Lenda shows a boy who says never to marry until the God Xia Lao Yue says that he is connected to a girl by a red thread.
Outraged by this when he finds the girl he throws a rock at her and says he will never get married. The boy grows up and never falls in love until he meets a girl that he is not able to see her face and marries her, when asking why she covered her face she says it was because in childhood a boy threw a stone at her and left a scar on eyebrow.
At Chinese version a man is about to get married, God says that he is not the right person and points a baby through the red string. Irritated he sets fire to the baby's house and house with the wrong person and has an unhappy life. History repeats itself and he ends up marrying the girl who survived.
Yubikiri Genman (指切り拳万)
It was from the Japanese legend that the famous promise arose Yubikiri Genman (指切り拳万). That famous Japanese oath, in which two people who are making a promise join their little fingers and sing:
指切りげん: まんうそ ついたら 針 千本 飲ます指切った。
Yubikiri gen: Ma n uso tsuitara hari Senbon nomasu yubi kitta.
Pinky Promise: If I lie, I will swallow 1000 needles and cut my finger.
- 指 - finger;
- 切り- Cut or a cut;
- げんまん - Fist;
- うそ - Lying, lying;
- うそ ついたら - If I lie;
- 針 - Needle;
- 針千本 - 1000 needles;
- 飲ます - Drink, swallow;
- 指切った - I’ll cut my finger;
The red thread of fate can sometimes also be related to Reincarnation Romance as happened in Darling in the Franxx. Sometimes the works representing Akai Ito put together things like first love, love at first sight, or forbidden love.
Akai Ito related anime, movies and dramas
Both the akai ito like yubikiri appears several times in anime, music and games. My most recent memory is at the second opening of oreimo. We will now recommend some works related to Akai ito for you to watch:
Akai Ito - This drama tells the story of Mei and Atsushi who study at the same school and have birthdays on the same day, each with their own lives. In this work with the name of the article’s theme we will see how the red thread will act to unite these 2 people.
Koizora - Another drama / film based on a mobile game that became a great romantic success. Koizora tells the story of Mika, a young student who wants to fall in love as soon as she enters high school. One day, she starts receiving calls from a mysterious boy until she is won over and some bullshit happens that will make you cry.
Koi To Uso - An anime that strongly questions the ties of akai ito showing a modern Japan where the government chooses the spouse with whom the person will marry. How does the person feel if he is in love with another? Will the red thread of destiny change that?
Kimi no nawa - A masterpiece of animation that conquered everyone in 2016/2017 that manages to have action, comedy and romance with a beautiful animation and direction. The story initially shows 2 young people who usually change bodies at random. A must-see movie!
Curiosities involving the red thread of fate
In India there is a red string called a Rakhi that indicates a bond between a brother and sister and serves as a protective talisman. In fact this string is sometimes used to kill romantic interests of others. It is a literal cord and is usually tied around the wrist rather than binding one person to another.
There are gestures involving the fingers that serve as an abbreviation. If we hold the little finger we indicate a boyfriend, if we hold the thumb we indicate a girlfriend. It is believed that this gesture came about because of the akai ito.
There are songs that quote or make references to the legend of the red thread as Red Chord of Frames; Tip of My Tongue The Civil Wars; L’espoir ~ Mahô no Akai Ito ~; Nankai Renai of Gumi; Dive Bar The Tower and The Fool and many others.
Even in the game Zelda: Skyward Sword, one of my favorite franchises, there is a small reference to Akai Ito. The main villain Lord Ghirahim says that the link is destined to meet him and that they are connected by a red thread of fate. The villain even won a related attack in the game Hyrule Warriors.
There are films and dramas that make references to akai ito like Dolls, Touch, Hanamuko wa 18sai, Ashurajou no Hitomi and many others. Several other anime like Black Clover, Tsuki ga Kirei, Ranma ½, Toradora, Inuyasha, Pokemon, Naruto and many others that also make references. Can you remember some?
When was the last time you came across akai ito in any Japanese work? Leave your comments and if possible share with friends. Thank you and see you next time!