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Bunka: Japanese Punch Needle

Bunka Shishu, also known as surface punch embroidery, is the Japanese form of punch needle. The loops are on the back and the right side faces you as you work, just the opposite of Russian punch needle.

It's like painting with thread!

I first saw this beautiful Japanese embroidery method at the home of an elderly family friend. She demonstrated it to me. I couldn't believe how fast the thread painting went.

It is SO beautiful. The photos you see on the internet don't do it justice. The rayon threads catch the light in a special way, and there's a subtle dimension to the layered threads.

You can use other threads such as embroidery floss, but the rayon is preferred because it has a little spring which helps it stay in place. The rayon comes knitted into a cord. The cord is pulled out and unraveled to the desired thickness. It's the kinks from unraveling that make the thread somewhat springy and stretchy.

I think Russian punch needle tends to look like a miniature latch hook rug. I think that the Japanese embroidery type looks like detailed crewelwork that took hours upon hours. Only you will know how long it really took you!

Aren't these Japanese kits absolutely gorgeous? I love the designs. You can click the arrows to rotate through, then click to open a larger picture, but like I said, photos don't capture the beauty and texture of the shimmering threads.

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