Do you know about kumade rakes? Kumade is the word for ‘rake’ in Japanese, but there is another type of rake that has a more special use as well. This is what we call a kumade rake in English. The kumade rake originally had a comb-shaped tip that spread out like the paw of a bear, and was used to sweep and gather debris such as fallen leaves from areas such as gardens. These rakes are traditionally made from wood and bamboo. The kumade rake is richly adorned and decorated to turn it into a ‘lucky gift’, and this new design has a deep meaning in Japan. It is said that this is because the new kumade design gives the impression of scraping or gathering up good fortune or profit. Some also see it as giving the feeling of grabbing like an eagle because it resembles the shape of an eagle’s claws.
Gathering Luck at The Tori no Ichi Festival
The Tori no Ichi festival is held at shrines all over Japan, notably the Ohtori Shrine in the Asakusa area of Tokyo, on the first day of the rooster in November. Although it is still too early to be thinking about the end of the year, many come to this event wishing for more success with their business in the new year. The shops open and selling kumade rakes for business success see the visitors to the Tori no Ichi festival as indicative of their future fortunes.
Elaborately Pretty Kumade Rakes
With just one look at these rakes, you can tell how they can be seen as auspicious signs of good fortune. The items that decorate the rake, which you can see on the rake images in this article as well, are strong symbols of prosperity and wealth, such as Japanese sea bream, the smiling Seven Lucky Gods, and the mythical Japanese ‘hammer of fortune’. These symbols all combine to create a design for the rake that gives a feeling of gathering or sweeping up luck.
Small (48cm) Lucky Kumade Rake
This is a smaller sized example of the well-detailed kumade rakes. It might be the best choice for those who feel that they might not have enough space to display some of the larger sizes available. With this, you can enjoy the Tori no Ichi festival experience even outside of Japan!
Kumade Rake Decorating Tips
Originally, kumade rakes were used to decorate offices, private homes and the entrance to houses. However, since the structure of Japanese houses has changed in recent years, they are now sometimes displayed on Shinto shrines and altars. The points below are said to be important for kumade rake decoration:
- The front of the rake faces in a direction other than north.
- When decorating at an entrance area, the front of the rake faces the entrance.
- Always make sure to display the rake at a high position
You may also want to consider what size of kumade rake you wish to use depending on what you are intending to decorate. You can see some size examples in the image to the left. If you would like to try and collect some good business luck for the coming year, you can luckily still get these special rakes from outside of Japan! Browse a selection of different styles via the link below.