Kintsukoroi and Friendship

Kintsukoroi, also called kintsugi, is the Japanese art of mending broken pottery. Kintsukoroi means “golden repair.” The process creates a unique and even more beautiful piece than the original. Gold veins show that the pottery has a story, and resilience is part of its story. This is a good symbol for perseverance as in Dojo Kun number three.


Broken ceramic ware reminds me of a broken friendship. It may not always be worthy of mending. If your friendship, or your cup was always extremely frail and uneven, and didn’t really work well for anyone, and then it breaks, then it’s probably better to let it go. But if your friendship is strong and equitable, and you and your friend both enjoy your relationship, it is worth working through troubles. In the same way if your ceramic cup brings you enjoyment and is strong and well-made, it is worth fixing if it breaks.


With kintsukoroi, a person salvages broken pieces of pottery. She carefully glues them back together and sprinkles the mend with gold or silver powder. When finished, the dish is useful again. And it is beautiful, with a completely unique look. When the pottery was made, it may have been one of thousands of the same dish. But after this type of mending it is one of a kind and even more beautiful than it was in its manufactured state of quality-control’s standards.


A relationship where both parties regard each other, support each other when it is needed, and can be truthful to each other when they don’t agree, is a beautiful one worth mending. All friendships go through hard times, and you could even say they can break. In that case, a good friendship is worth taking the time and effort to work through the difficulties. If the friends, together, are able to mend the relationship, then it will be even more beautiful and valuable for going through that process. It will be a kintsukoroi friendship.


Kintsukoroi helps us think outside the box. Just because something suffered damage, doesn’t mean we trash it. We can repair it and even consider it more beautiful than in its undamaged state. This can apply to pottery, friendships and even life’s difficulties, as in this article by John Sean Doyle.

By Jenifer Tull-Gauger  

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