Akai Ito: Love on the red thread of fate (meaning and legend)

The akai ito meaning red thread or red thread of fate is a symbol that arose from Asian legends, originally Chinese.

It symbolizes true love and the union of two people who were meant for each other, who are soul mates.

Legend of the Red Line of Fate (Akai Ito)

The legend about the red thread of fate, which originated in China, says that those who are bound by the gods by this thread are destined to be together, regardless of time, place, or circumstances.

The red thread, which is something metaphorical, an invisible connection, can get tangled, it can stretch, but it will never break. It is the unbreakable union between two people.

One of the stories tells that the god Yue Lao or Xia Lao Yue, meaning old man under the moon, who is responsible for weddings and unions, joining the predestined couples with a red thread around the ankle, meets a young boy and tells him that soon he will need to prepare for his destiny, namely marriage.

The young man, who was still quite immature, says that he does not intend to marry and that he no longer wants to take part in that conversation. However, the wise old man shows him, for the first time, the red cord that binds him to a girl.

Startled, the young man ends up picking up a stone and throwing it in the girl’s face, quickly fleeing from that scene. The red thread then becomes invisible, as well as having become tangled.

After a few years, the young man, who had already become a man, even though he didn’t remember that childhood memory very well, couldn’t stop thinking about how much he wanted to find his ideal match.

Strolling through his village, under the moonlight, he spotted the silhouette of a woman with whom he soon fell in love and wanted to marry. After the wedding, he noticed that his wife had a scar on her face and asked how this had happened.

The woman told him that when she was a girl, years ago, a young man had hit her with a rock. Soon it all became very clear, that he had married the girl predestined for him by the gods.

Akai Ito: Love on the red thread of fate

Japanese Red Thread

The legends and stories about the akai ito are very diverse and have spread mainly in China and Japan. Often it is even difficult to know their exact origin.

In Japan the red thread has the same symbolism, what changes is that instead of couples being joined at the ankle, the red thread of destiny is connected to the little finger.

Even some Japanese movies and anime make reference to the akai ito and its story. The main ones are the 2008 dorama “Akai Ito” and the anime “Kimi no na wa” (2016) by director Makoto Shinkai.

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