Kumihimo is a Japanese form of braid-making. Cords and ribbons are made by interlacing strands. Kumi himo is Japanese for "gathered threads". This technique as seen here, uses seed beads and fiber. Kumihimo cord was first created by a form of finger-loop braiding. Later tools such as the marudai and the takadai were employed to make more complex braids in shorter time. The most prominent historical use of the cords was by samurai as both a functional and decorative way to lace their lamellar armour and their horses' armor (barding). Kumihimo cords are now used as ties on haori jackets and obijimes, which are used for tying on an obi (kimono sash).
Thank you, Wikipedia, for a reasonably concise description of Kumihimo. They failed to mention that it is somewhat addicting in its simplicity and hypnotic rhythm.