The Red Thread of Fate

A heart shaped ball of red yarn.

Unmei No Akai Ito 運命の赤い糸, the red thread of fate, connects you from your pinky finger to your destined lover’s pinky finger. It is a magical, invisible cord that can stretch around the world. It can tangle but can not break. The cord will eventually bring you together regardless of place, time or circumstance. It does not require you to believe. It is foreordained, predestined and inescapable.

This beautiful mythology is the subject of many movies, anime and manga in Japan. Most recently and popularly Your Name 君の名は (Kimi no na wa), by Makoto Shinkai. The movie is certainly worth seeing if you are able. The concept is quirky and whimsical. The idea that we are connected to another, even when we believe we are alone, is such a romantic one.

There are several variations of the story. This is my favourite (in my own interpretation). A young boy meets an old man while walking home one evening. The old man points to a young girl walking nearby and explains to the boy that this girl is destined to be his wife.The boy asks how the old man knows and he explains he can see the red thread of fate that connects them. Being a young boy who has no interest in either girls or marriage the boy throws a rock at the girl. The rock strikes the girl and the boy runs away. Many years later the boys parents have arranged a marriage for him. In the traditional fashion the woman’s face is covered by a veil. The boy is delighted when he raises the veil to discover his new wife is one of the most beautiful women in the village. However, the woman wears a silk patch covering a scar on her forehead. She explains to her new husband she received the scar when a boy had thrown a rock at her when she was younger. They were destined to be together.

This story is so romantic. I am not sure if I believe in fate. I have certainly had experiences of feeling that something is “right” or meant-to-be. Do you like the concept of someone being fated to be your partner? I like imagining the red thread connecting Super Sake Boy and I together and stretching across the world. I imagine it being influenced and manipulated by other people, bringing us closer and closer together. We started out 17,000kms away from each other. It eventually positioned us just 2.5km away from each other for more than ten years. Was it inevitable that we met? Considering our shared passions, interests and life experiences? That little red thread eventually snapped us together in a tiny office in Box Hill at a Japanese conversation class. Fate threw fortune, I am happy I was in the right place to catch it.

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