Red Ribbon of Fate in Chinese Folklore

Main Piece:

KY: “The red thread of fate, or the red ribbon of fate, is this idea originating from Asian culture— I think specifically Chinese culture. It’s this thread that connects two people, these two lovers, two partners, or star-crossed lovers… It connects them even if they are far apart or right next to each other… It’s this idea that they will somehow meet. It’s been told in a couple of media, one specifically… (Your Name) Kimi no Na wa, anime movie. There are some people who like have a red ribbon attached to them or an accessory that they have… I’ve seen it more often used as a way to tie someone’s hair… Like a charm of sorts… My friend spoke of it… Once you hear about it, you see it everywhere now, especially in Eastern Asian media….


This was taken from a conversation with me and one of my suitemates, who is of Japanese descent, in the Cale & Irani Apartments in USC Village. He heard of this from one of his middle school friends who was Filipina.


The Red Thread of Fate or Red Thread of Marriage is an East Asian belief of Chinese origin. The psychological associations we have with the color red such as passion, love, or lust remain ever present in this belief. From my own Vietnamese cultural background, I know it can also be associated with luck. This is just one of many examples of how people use physical objects as representations of themselves or something that keeps them connected to others, along the same line as friendship bracelets or wedding rings. One should also note how the folk belief was popularized beyond China, and to Asian audiences in general, through its use in film and cartoon, particularly in anime. This can be evidenced by my suitemate and his childhood friend, who are Japanese and Filipina.