Senninbari (Thousand Stitch Belt)

Senninbari (Thousand Stitch Belt)

Usage conditions apply
The sennabari, or "thousand stitch belt," was given to Japanese servicemen by the women in his family or community as he went off to war. The belt was believed to confer good luck, courage, and protection upon its wearer. The belts were usually made of white cloth and decorated with a thousand red stitches or knots. Traditionally each knot was made by a different woman so that the making of the belts was a communal effort. This belt is about 42 inches long with ten rows of red knots.
This item is one of over 30 medical-military objects collected by Harold B. Price, Chief Pharmacist's Mate, U.S. Navy, during his deployment in the Pacific theater during World War II. The material is all associated with the Japanese military and most of the items were collected on Betio Island, Tarawa Atoll. The island was the site of intense fighting during the Battle of Tarawa, November 20-23, 1943.
Mr. Price loaned the material to the Smithsonian in August, 1944, and it was immediately put on public display. The original loan included a Japanese microscope and accessories which were returned to Price in November 1946. The remainder of the material was retained in the collection as a permanent gift.
Currently not on view
Object Name
belt, military
place made
Japan: Japan
associated place
Japan: Japan
Physical Description
cloth (overall material)
overall, as stored (folded): 1 3/4 in x 11 in x 4 1/2 in; 4.445 cm x 27.94 cm x 11.43 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Harold B. Rice
World War II
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Medicine
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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