Page last updated at 00:21 GMT, Sunday, 22 February 2009

Cherry tartan in 'samurai' tie in

Man in samurai armour
The age of the samurai declined in the 19th Century

A cherry blossom tartan to be sold in Japanese stores looks set to feature in celebrations marking the life of a man dubbed the "Scottish Samurai".

Tartans designer David McGill, from Edinburgh, Shizue Melvin, from Japan, and her businessman husband John have been working on the project.

Due to get its official launch in Nagasaki, the tartan has drawn interest from the Thomas Glover Foundation.

Fraserburgh-born Glover was a key figure in 19th Century Japan.

Mr Melvin, from Edinburgh, hoped the new tartan would get its official launch in September at Glover's former mansion in Japan.

He said the foundation has helped to encourage the Japanese Philharmonic Orchestra to wear some items such as ties, cummerbunds, scrunchies and ribbons during a performance of Scottish music.

Top honours

The BBC News Scotland website reported the design of the new tartan - called sakura, Japanese for cherry blossom - last August.

Mr McGill, who has previously designed tartans for Poland, France and Norway, and also represented Scotland internationally at bowls, has included the colours pink, white, green and brown.

Kiku tartan
The range has been extended to represent the four seasons

Since August, a range of designs to cover the four seasons has been created.

Glover was born in 1838 in Fraserburgh, a north east Scotland fishing town, and became a leading figure in the industrialisation of Japan.

Dubbed the Scottish Samurai, he was the first non-Japanese to be awarded the Order of the Rising Sun - one of the top honours of the country.

His Japanese wife, Tsuru, was said to have been the inspiration for Madame Butterfly, which is best-known as an opera by Giacomo Puccini.

The age of the samurai started in the 1100s, but their system of government and famous warriors lost power in the late 19th Century.



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