Hanging Out With the Noren

Noren are traditional Japanese doorway hangings. Most noren are made of fabric panels, with a slit cut up the center to permit passage through the door. Japanese businesses traditionally hang a noren in the entrance during business hours. The presence of the noren indicates the shop is open for business. The lack of a noren in the doorway means the shop is closed. During the medieval period, many noren were made from indigo-colored cloth. White characters on the noren announced the shop’s name and, sometimes, the type of business conducted.  Commercial houses often had a shop name ending in -ya (meaning “house

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