Red string of fate

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Red string of fate
Chinese name
Simplified Chinese 红线
Traditional Chinese 紅線
Japanese name
Kanji 赤い糸

The red string of fate, also referred to as the red thread of destiny, red thread of fate, and other variants, is an East Asian belief originating from Chinese legend and is also used in Japanese legend. According to this myth, the gods tie a red cord around the ankles of those that are to meet one another in a certain situation or help each other in a certain way. Often, in Japanese culture, it is thought to be tied around the little finger. According to Chinese legend, the deity in charge of "the red thread" is believed to be Yuè Xià Lǎo (月下老, often abbreviated to "Yuèlǎo" [月老]), the old lunar matchmaker god who is also in charge of marriages.

The two people connected by the red thread are destined lovers, regardless of time, place, or circumstances. This magical cord may stretch or tangle, but never break. This myth is similar to the Western concept of soulmates or a destined flame.

Folklore[edit]

One story featuring the red string of fate involves a young boy. Walking home one night, a young boy sees an old man standing beneath the moonlight (Yuè Xià Lǎo). The man explains to the boy that he is attached to his destined wife by a red thread. Yuè Xià Lǎo shows the boy the young girl who is destined to be his wife. Being young and having no interest in having a wife, the young boy picks up a rock and throws it at the girl, running away. Many years later, when the boy has grown into a young man, his parents arrange a wedding for him. On the night of his wedding, his wife waits for him in their bedroom, with the traditional veil covering her face. Raising it, the man is delighted to find that his wife is one of the great beauties of his village. However, she wears an adornment on her eyebrow. He asks her why she wears it and she responds that when she was a young girl, a boy threw a rock at her that struck her, leaving a scar on her eyebrow. She self-consciously wears the adornment to cover it up. The woman is, in fact, the same young girl connected to the man by the red thread shown to him by Yuè Xià Lǎo back in his childhood, showing that they were connected by the red string of fate.

In East Asian popular culture[edit]

In Japanese manga[edit]

Heavy references or inferences to the "red string" throughout the Kekkaishi and several other Japanese manga and anime series like Loveless, Nana, Kuroshitsuji, The Vision of Escaflowne, Detective Conan, InuYasha, Bleach, Tenchi Muyo, Toradora, Hell Girl, Fruits Basket, Bound Beauty, an episode of xxxHolic Negima: Spring OVA and Yu Yu Hakusho, Aki Sora, Ranma 1/2, Cross Game and Naruto,which the Red String Of Fate is usually referred to as Uzumaki Kushina's Red Hair. The Red String Of Fate is also mentioned in Sailor Moon, when Sailor Chibi Moon called on pegasus with her Crystal Bell that had a red bow wrapped around it.

In Japanese anime[edit]

In the anime Yu Yu Hakusho, when Yusuke, Kuwabara and Botan go to rescue Yukina, Kuwabara points the way, claiming that his fate and Yukina's are interwined by a red string.

In InuYasha: The Final Act, during the first ending, "With You" by AAA the characters Inuyasha and Kagome are shown with a red string attached to their pinky since they are destined to meet.

In the Naruto series, Kushina Uzumaki claims her red hair became her own red thread of life that eventually linked her to Minato Namikaze.

In the anime Tenchi in Tokyo, the goddess whisks Sakuya and Tenchi away to a café for a romantic moment together. Spotting her opportunity, the love goddess tries to tie Tenchi and Sakuya's fingers together with the red string of fate.

In the movie Case Closed: The Time Bombed Skyscraper, Ran Mouri answers why she did not cut the red wire to disable the time bomb because she and Shinichi Kudo are connected by it, referring the red string of fate.

In the anime xxxHolic, episode 9 refers Yuko's customer, who purposely dates different boys claiming the same promise that they were connected by the red string.

In the anime Ai Yori Aoshi the opening in right in the middle the red string shows that Aoi and Kaoru are in love.

In the anime Kekkaishi the ending "Akai Ito" literally translating to "Red String".

In the anime Ranma 1/2, there is an episode where the character Shampoo, get a magical red string which causes her love interest, the series main protagonist, Ranma Saotome, to fall head over heels for her.

In the anime Mawaru Penguindrum the red string of fate is a major theme that is seen throughout the show.

In the anime Guilty Crown, episode 22 Inori tells Shu to take the 'Guilty Crown' (a red string form of Cat's Cradle). Shu absorbs her blindness and Inori sacrifices herself to save Shu's life in crystalization.

In film[edit]

  • In the 1957 film Sayonara, Miiko Taka's character Hana-ogi points out to Marlon Brando's character, Lloyd Gruver, her lover, two rocks in the sea close to shore, which are said to be "married", as shown by the red rope connecting them across the waves.
  • In the feature film Dolls, two of the main characters go through the story attached with a red piece of rope.
  • In the 2006 Japanese film Wool 100%, red yarn is shown throughout as linking the characters.
  • In the television series Touch, the plot is based mainly on a thread that connects everyone in your life.
  • In the 2005 film Ashurajou no Hitomi, there is a red string of fate binding the main character Izumo, to his love-interest the mysterious Tsubaki.
  • In the 2008 television series Akai Ito, junior high school students Mei and Atsushi - who must overcome drugs, rape and attempted suicide in order to be together.
  • In the 2008 film Akai Ito
  • In the 2010 Taiwan television series "愛無限" (Endless Love).
  • In the 2012 South Korean television series "신사의 품격" (A Gentleman's Dignity), the main characters of Kim Do Jin and Seo Yi Soo meet when the red string from Yi Soo's sweater gets attached to Do Jin's bag, symbolizing their fate binding them together.

In music[edit]

In the song "Makka Na Ito" by the Japanese band Plastic Tree there are references to the red string of fate in the chorus. The title translates to "crimson thread".

Also quoting the "Vocaloid2" song "Just be friends" aka "JBF" by Luka Megurine. In the PV, Luka and Boy ("Masuta/Master" perhaps) are connected by the red string of fate, resembling their soul-ship, even though they broke up.

The Gumi song "Diamond and Lies" The Gazette-Red Lucy Kaplansky's The Red Thread

"One Red Thread" by American band Blind Pilot refers to the "red thread" and includes lines such as "from the minute that the line got drawn," and "my only one, my only one," signifying the destiny of two people's connection.

In a PV for the song "Choose Me" by Hyadain, the story depicts a love triangle; both girls involved wear the red string of fate. The string of the girls is shown to be wrapped around the male counterparts' neck, a metaphor for his struggle to pick only one of the two.

"Akai Ito" by Koshi Inaba literally translating to "Red string"

In the song "Dive Bar" by American band The Tower and The Fool, "And I told about time where I tried to tie a red thread around her ankles in your bed at night," talking about a girl that is not destined for him, even if he tries to force it.

In Japanese video games[edit]

In the 2004 game Shadow Hearts: Covenant, one of the weapons obtained by the character Gepetto is called "Crimson Thread". It is described as "A thread that connects the fates of two people" and "Legend says this thread links the fate of a star-crossed couple. Said to make the owner's deepest wish a reality".

In the Pokémon series, since Diamond and Pearl, the item Destiny Knot, a red ball of string, may be held by a Pokémon. If that Pokémon is inflicted with the Attract condition, its opponent also becomes attracted.

In the game Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword the main villain, Demon Lord Ghirahim, claims that he and the main character, Link, are connected by a red thread of fate and destiny that caused them to meet.

See also[edit]