Netsuke 根付 is a toggle invented in Edo period to serve a practical function.
“Ne” means root and “tsuke” means attach.
Traditional kimono着物had no pockets, so men needed a place to store their belongings, such as seals and medicines.
Their solution was to place such belongings in a container and hang it by cords from the obi 帯sashes.
Netsuke 根付 was drilled to take cord and made smooth not to break off or catch on the kimono着物 and later developed into the fashionable and lovely one carved from bamboo, ivory or wood, sometimes nuts.
The containers were called Inro 印籠 and beautifully crafted boxes.
To prevent the Inro 印籠from slipping through the obi帯, a small and decorative toggle was attached to the end of the cord.
This is Netsuke根付.
If you are interested in Netsuke 根付 the Tokyo national museum in Ueno park is must place to visit. At the Prince Takamado’s collection of the modern Netsuke 根付 we can find many interesting and cute netsuke; Maikosan, Ghost, Hampty Dumpty and others.
You may see Japanese young men and women having cute strap to the cell phone or mascot to the bag.
They may come from the Kawaii cute Netsuke culture in Edo period.