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A traditional wedding kimono with tsunokakushi (wedding headpiece)

The kimono (着物, きもの) is a traditional Japanese garment. The word kimono literally means "thing to wear on the shoulders"; ki comes from the verb kiru (着る),[1] a gender-neutral verb describes clothing worn on the shoulders or on the entire body, and mono (物) means "thing".[2]

Kimono (Chinese characters).svg
"Kimono" in kanji
Japanese name
A traditional red Uchikake kimono with cranes
Woman in kimono at Fukuoka City Hall.

Over time, the kimono has come to be a T-shaped wrapped garment with set sleeve lengths, variations and a set way of construction. The plural of kimono is kimono, as Japanese does not distinguish plural nouns, though the English plural kimonos is also used. Kimono are often worn for important public holidays and festivals, and for formal occasions such as weddings and funerals.

The kimono is usually worn ankle-length, though women's kimono are longer as their kimono are folded at the hip. The collar is attached flatly, and always worn left over right (unless the person wearing kimono is deceased).[3] The kimono's sleeves reach the wrist, and variations of kimono may have sleeves long enough to touch the ground.

Kimono are tied with a sash called an obi, knotted at the back, though it is a series of ties called koshihimo ('waist cord/wrap') that actually keep kimono closed, as modern obi are too stiff to keep kimono in place. The obi is tied in a knot known as a musubi at the back, and there are many varieties of musubi based on formality, obi type and age. Kimono are generally worn with traditional footwear such as zōri or geta, and split-toed socks called tabi.

Today, kimono are most often worn by women, particularly on special occasions. Unmarried women traditionally wore furisode ('swinging sleeve') kimono, with almost floor-length sleeves, on special occasions, though even their casual kimono would have longer sleeves with rounded edges at the front. In modern times, a woman generally only wears furisode to special occasions, and stops wearing furisode in her early 20s, married or not. Men wear the kimono most often at weddings, tea ceremonies, and other very special or very formal occasions.

The people who tend to wear kimono the most on a daily basis are older men and women, geisha, and sumo wrestlers, the latter being required to wear traditional Japanese dress whenever appearing in public.[4]



Japanese dress under the Chinese and Korean influence with a distinctive overlapping collar.[5] (Takamatsuzuka Tomb, 7th century)
Stylized Kimono in the late Heian period. A few centuries after Japan demolished connections with China.[6](The Tale of Genji, 12th century)
Kosode, the undershirt transformed into outer garment after Muromachi period. (Matsuura byōbu, 17th century)
The overall silhouette transformed due to the evolution of obi, sleeves, and the layering of heavy fabrics. (Utagawa Kuniyoshi, Plum Blossoms at Night, woodblock print, 19th century)

Chinese fashion had a huge influence on Japan from the Kofun period to the early Heian period as a result of mass immigration from the continent and a Japanese envoy to the Tang dynasty. There is an opinion that Kimono was basically derived from the Chinese clothing[7][8] in the Wu region. During Japan's Heian period (794–1192 AD), the kimono became increasingly stylized, though one still wore a half-apron, called a mo, over it.[9] During the Muromachi age (1336–1573 AD), the Kosode, a single kimono formerly considered underwear, began to be worn without the hakama (trousers, divided skirt) over it, and thus began to be held closed by an obi "belt".[9] During the Edo period (1603–1867 AD), the sleeves began to grow in length, especially among unmarried women, and the Obi became wider, with various styles of tying coming into fashion.[9] Since then, the basic shape of both the men's and women's kimono has remained essentially unchanged. Kimonos made with exceptional skill from fine materials have been regarded as great works of art.[9]

The formal kimono was replaced by the more convenient Western clothes and yukata as everyday wear. After an edict by Emperor Meiji,[10] police, railroad men and teachers moved to Western clothes. The Japanese began shedding kimonos in favor of Western dress in the 1870s. The Western clothes became the army and school uniform for boys. After the 1923 Great Kantō earthquake, kimono wearers often became victims of robbery because they could not run very fast due to the restricting nature of the kimono on the body and geta clogs. Also, kimono produced by traditional methods have become too expensive for the average family. A common price for a kimono- and-obi ensemble is over $1,000, according to the Tokyo Wholesalers Association. Many cost far more. Even on some special occasions such as wedding day, an elaborate kimono is de rigueur, most people choose to rent one.[11] The Tokyo Women's & Children's Wear Manufacturers' Association (東京婦人子供服組合) promoted Western clothes. Between 1920 and 1930 the sailor outfit replaced the undivided hakama in school uniforms for girls.[12] The national uniform, Kokumin-fuku, a type of Western clothes, was mandated for males in 1940.[13][14][15] Today most people wear Western clothes and wear the breezier and more comfortable yukata for special occasions.

In the Western world, kimono-styled women's jackets, similar to a casual cardigan,[16] gained public attention as a popular fashion item in 2014.[17] Kimonos are also worn on special occasions such as coming of age ceremonies and many other traditional Japanese events.

Textiles and manufactureEdit

Kimono, Japanese traditional dress

Kimonos for men should fall approximately to the ankle without tucking. A woman's kimono has additional length to allow for the ohashori, the tuck that can be seen under the obi, which is used to adjust the kimono to the wearer. An ideally tailored kimono has sleeves that fall to the wrist when the arms are lowered.

Kimono textiles can to be classified into two categories: Gofuku(呉服), which indicates silk textiles in general, for luxuries and cotton/hemp Futomono(太物) for everyday wear. Gofuku was named after 呉 (Wú) in ancient China, where the technology of silk fabrics originated from. Cotton clothing is called Momenfuku (木綿服) whereas hemp clothing is called Asafuku (麻服) in Japanese. Cotton/hemp fabrics are generally called as Futomono (太物, Thick materials) as the fiber of these materials are thicker compared to that of silk.  Till the end of the Edo period, tailoring of these fabrics were handled respectively at Gofuku store (Gofuku Dana) and Futomono stores (Futomono Dana), however, after the Meiji period, kimono was not worn as daily wear very often and Futomono stores eventually went out of business.

Kimonos are traditionally made from a single bolt of fabric called a tan. Tan come in standard dimensions—about 36 centimetres wide and 11.5 metres long[9]—and the entire bolt is used to make one kimono. The finished kimono consists of four main strips of fabric—two panels covering the body and two panels forming the sleeves—with additional smaller strips forming the narrow front panels and collar.[9] Historically, kimonos were often taken apart for washing as separate panels and resewn by hand. Because the entire bolt remains in the finished garment without cutting, the kimono can be retailored easily to fit another person.[9]

The maximum width of the sleeve is dictated by the width of the fabric. The distance from the center of the spine to the end of the sleeve could not exceed twice the width of the fabric. Traditional kimono fabric was typically no more than 36 centimeters (14 inches) wide. Thus the distance from spine to wrist could not exceed a maximum of roughly 68 centimeters (27 inches). Modern kimono fabric is woven as wide as 42 centimeters (17 inches) to accommodate modern Japanese body sizes. Very tall or heavy people, such as sumo wrestlers, must have kimonos custom-made by either joining multiple bolts, weaving custom-width fabric, or using non-standard size fabric.[18]

Traditionally, kimonos are sewn by hand; even machine-made kimonos require substantial hand-stitching. Kimono fabrics are frequently hand-made and -decorated. Techniques such as yūzen dye resist are used for applying decoration and patterns to the base cloth. Repeating patterns that cover a large area of a kimono are traditionally done with the yūzen resist technique and a stencil. Over time there have been many variations in color, fabric, and style, as well as accessories such as the obi.

The kimono and obi are traditionally made of hemp, linen, silk, silk brocade, silk crepes (such as chirimen) and satin weaves (such as rinzu). Modern kimonos are widely available in less-expensive easy-care fabrics such as rayon, cotton sateen, cotton, polyester and other synthetic fibers. Silk is still considered the ideal fabric.

Modern styles of furisode

Customarily, woven patterns and dyed repeat patterns are considered informal. Formal kimonos have free-style designs dyed over the whole surface or along the hem.[9] During the Heian period, kimonos were worn with up to a dozen or more colorful contrasting layers, with each combination of colors being a named pattern.[9] Today, the kimono is normally worn with a single layer on top of one or more undergarments.

The pattern of the kimono can determine in which season it should be worn. For example, a pattern with butterflies or cherry blossoms would be worn in spring. Watery designs are common during the summer. A popular autumn motif is the russet leaf of the Japanese maple; for winter, designs may include bamboo, pine trees and plum blossoms.

A popular form of textile art in Japan is shibori (intricate tie dye), found on some of the more expensive kimonos and haori kimono jackets. Patterns are created by minutely binding the fabric and masking off areas, then dying it, usually by hand. When the bindings are removed, an undyed pattern is revealed. Shibori work can be further enhanced with yuzen (hand applied) drawing or painting with textile dyes or with embroidery; it is then known as tsujigahana. Shibori textiles are very time-consuming to produce and require great skill, so the textiles and garments created from them are very expensive and highly prized.

Old kimonos are often recycled in various ways: they are altered to make haori, hiyoku, or kimonos for children; used to patch similar kimono; used for making handbags and similar kimono accessories; and used to make covers, bags or cases for implements, especially for sweet-picks used in tea ceremonies. Damaged kimonos can be disassembled and resewn to hide the soiled areas, and those with damage below the waistline can be worn under a hakama. Historically, skilled craftsmen laboriously picked the silk thread from old kimono and rewove it into a new textile in the width of a heko obi for men's kimono, using a recycling weaving method called saki-ori.


Diagram of the kimono parts

These terms refer to parts of a kimono:

  • Dōura (胴裏): upper lining on a woman's kimono.
  • Eri (): collar.
  • Fuki (): hem guard.
  • Furi (): sleeve below the armhole.
  • Obi (): a belt used to tuck excess cloth away from the seeing public.
  • Maemigoro (前身頃): front main panel, excluding sleeves. The covering portion of the other side of the back, maemigoro is divided into "right maemigoro" and "left maemigoro".
  • Miyatsukuchi (身八つ口): opening under the sleeve.
  • Okumi (): front inside panel on the front edge of the left and right, excluding the sleeve of a kimono. Until the collar, down to the bottom of the dress goes, up and down part of the strip of cloth. Have sewn the front body. It is also called "袵".
  • Sode (): sleeve.[9]
  • Sodeguchi (袖口): sleeve opening.
  • Sodetsuke (袖付): kimono armhole.
  • Susomawashi (裾回し): lower lining.
  • Tamoto (): sleeve pouch.
  • Tomoeri (共衿): over-collar (collar protector).
  • Uraeri (裏襟): inner collar.
  • Ushiromigoro (後身頃): back main panel, excluding sleeves, covering the back portion. They are basically sewn back-centered and consist of "right ushiromigoro" and "left ushiromigoro", but for wool fabric, the ushiromigoro consists of one piece.


A modern second-hand kimono shop

A brand-new women's kimono may easily exceed US$10,000;[19] a complete outfit, with kimono, undergarments, obi, socks, shoes and accessories can easily exceed US$20,000, with a single brand-new obi costing upwards of several thousand dollars.

However, most kimono owned by kimono hobbyists or practitioners of the traditional arts are far less expensive. Cheaper and synthetic fabrics can substitute for traditional hand-dyed silk, and modern-day brand-new synthetic kimono are sold as 'washable' and easy to care for. Some people make their own kimono, as kimono do not require a paper pattern or extensive fitting to sew, and can be made of whatever fabrics the owner wants.

Many kimono are also bought second-hand from vintage stores, a lucrative business in Japan, as kimono do not go out of fashion, though certain motifs and colours can be attributed to different eras.[20] These can cost as little as ¥100 (about $0.9) at thrift stores in the Tokyo area, and the Nishijin district of Kyoto is also known for its pre-loved kimono markets. Even antique obi can retail cheaply, though they can be stained and fragile. Women's obi, however, mostly remain an expensive item; though simply-patterned or relatively plain obi can retail second-hand for as little as ¥500 (about $4.5), even a used, well-kept and high-quality obi can cost upwards of $300, as they are often decorated with embroidery, goldwork and hand-painted by craftsmen. Men's obi, even those made from silk, tend to be much less expensive, as they are narrower, shorter and less decorative than those worn by women.


Kimonos range from extremely formal to casual. The level of formality of women's kimono is determined mostly by the pattern of the fabric, and color. Young women's kimonos have longer sleeves, signifying that they are not married, and tend to be more elaborate than similarly formal older women's kimono.[9] Men's kimonos are usually one basic shape and are mainly worn in subdued colors. Formality is also determined by the type and color of accessories, the fabric, and the number or absence of kamon (family crests), with five crests signifying extreme formality.[9] Silk is the most desirable, and most formal, fabric. Kimonos made of fabrics such as cotton and polyester generally reflect a more casual style.

Women's kimonoEdit

The typical woman's kimono outfit consists of twelve or more separate pieces that are worn, matched, and secured in prescribed ways, and the assistance of licensed professional kimono dressers may be required. Called upon mostly for special occasions, kimono dressers both work out of hair salons and make house calls.

Choosing an appropriate type of kimono requires knowledge of the garment's symbolism and subtle social messages, reflecting the woman's age, marital status, and the level of formality of the occasion.

Haruyo Morita (森田 春代 Morita Haruyo) served mandatory apprenticeships studying and working as a kimono painter and designer until 1972 when she began paintings of women wearing beautiful traditional kimonos, sometimes in imagined settings, which became her signature style of art.


A young woman wearing a furisode kimono

Furisode (振袖) literally translates as swinging sleeves—the sleeves of furisode average between 39 and 42 inches (110 cm) in length. Furisode are the most formal kimono for unmarried women, with colorful patterns that cover the entire garment. They are usually worn at coming-of-age ceremonies (seijin shiki) and by unmarried female relatives of the bride at weddings and wedding receptions.


Hōmongi (訪問着) literally translates as visiting wear. Characterized by patterns that flow over the shoulders, seams and sleeves, hōmongi rank slightly higher than their close relative, the tsukesage. Hōmongi may be worn by both married and unmarried women; often friends of the bride will wear hōmongi at weddings (except relatives) and receptions. They may also be worn to formal parties.

Pongee Hōmongi were made to promote kimono after WWII. Since Pongee Hōmongi are made from Pongee, they are considered casual wear.


Iromuji (色無地) are colored kimono that may be worn by married and unmarried women. They are mainly worn to tea ceremonies. The dyed silk may be figured (rinzu, similar to jacquard), but has no differently colored patterns. It comes from the word "muji" which means plain or solid and "iro" which means color.


Komon (小紋) means "fine pattern". The term refers to kimono with a small, repeated pattern throughout the garment. This style is more casual and may be worn around town, or dressed up with a formal obi for a restaurant. Both married and unmarried women may wear komon.

Edo komonEdit

Edo komon (江戸小紋) is a type of komon characterized by tiny dots arranged in dense patterns that form larger designs. The Edo komon dyeing technique originated with the samurai class during the Edo period. A kimono with this type of pattern is of the same formality as an iromuji, and when decorated with kamon, may be worn as visiting wear (equivalent to a tsukesage or hōmongi).


Mofuku is formal mourning dress for men or women. Both men and women wear kimono of plain black silk with five kamon over white undergarments and white tabi. For women, the obi and all accessories are also black. Men wear a subdued obi and black and white or black and gray striped hakama with black or white zōri.

The completely black mourning ensemble is usually reserved for family and others who are close to the deceased.


Tomesode (留袖) is formal kimono for married woman. The feature of it is the short sleeve, the traditional main color of body is black, the lap of kimono has some simple pattern and elegant color. 'Tomesode' also has a family token and is usually used for wedding party of relatives.


Irotomesode (色留袖) is single-color kimono, patterned only below the waistline. Irotomesode with five family crests are the same as formal as kurotomesode, and are worn by married and unmarried women, usually close relatives of the bride and groom at weddings and a medal ceremony at the royal court. An irotomesode may have three or one kamon. Those use as a semi-formal kimono at a party and conferment.


Kurotomesode (黒留袖) is a black kimono patterned only below the waistline. They are the most formal kimono for married women. They are often worn by the mothers of the bride and groom at weddings. Kurotomesode usually have five kamon printed on the sleeves, chest and back of the kimono.


Tsukesage (付け下げ) has more modest patterns that cover a smaller area—mainly below the waist—than the more formal hōmongi. They may also be worn by married women. The differences from homongi is the size of the pattern, seam connection, and not same clothes at inside and outside at hakke As demitoilet, not used in important occasion, but light patterned homongi is more highly rated than classic patterned tsukesage. General tsukesage is often used for parties, not ceremonies.


A traditional red Uchikake kimono

Uchikake (打掛) is a highly formal kimono worn only by a bride or at a stage performance. The uchikake is often heavily brocaded and is supposed to be worn outside the actual kimono and obi, as a sort of coat. One therefore never ties the obi around the uchikake. It is supposed to trail along the floor, this is also why it is heavily padded along the hem. The uchikake of the bridal costume is either white or very colorful often with red as the base colour.

Susohiki / HikizuriEdit

The susohiki is usually worn by geisha or by stage performers of the traditional Japanese dance. It is quite long, compared to regular kimono, because the skirt is supposed to trail along the floor. Susohiki literally means "trail the skirt". Where a normal kimono for women is normally 1.5–1.6 m (4.9–5.2 ft) long, a susohiki can be up to 2 m (6.6 ft) long. This is also why geisha and maiko lift their kimono skirt when walking outside, also to show their beautiful underkimono or "nagajuban" (see below).[21]

Hikizuri are also sewn differently to normal kimono, owing to the way that they are worn.[22] The collar on a hikizuri is sewn further back into the neck, so that it can be pulled down lower without upsetting the line of the kimono; general tradition states that a young, unmarried woman wears her kimono collar a fist-size down from the nape of the neck, but hikizuri are pulled down much further than this, and the collar must be adjusted for this reason.

So that the underarm does not show when the collar is pulled down, the sleeves are set unevenly onto the body. The seam between the shoulder and the sleeve runs longer down the front than it does the back. When hikizuri are worn, the kimono is pulled up from the floor to the body diagonally, instead of keeping the side seams straight [note 1] - this emphasises the hips and helps the kimono to trail nicely on the floor. Because of this, the ohashori is tied unevenly, being longer at the back than the front, though it is usually tied up into the obi, and therefore not visible.


A young woman modeling a jūnihitoe

Jūnihitoe (十二単) is an extremely elegant and highly complex kimono that was only worn by Japanese court-ladies. The jūnihitoe consist of various layers which are silk garments, with the innermost garment being made of white silk. The total weight of the jūnihitoe could add up to 20 kilograms. An important accessory was an elaborate fan, which could be tied together by a rope when folded. Today, the jūnihitoe can only be seen in museums, movies, costume demonstrations, tourist attractions or at certain festivals. These robes are one of the most expensive items of Japanese clothing. Only the Imperial Household still officially uses them at some important functions.

Men's kimonoEdit

Couple being married in traditional dress

In contrast to women's kimono, men's kimono outfits are far simpler, typically consisting of five pieces, not including footwear.

Men's kimono sleeves are attached to the body of the kimono with no more than a few inches unattached at the bottom, unlike the women's style of very deep sleeves mostly unattached from the body of the kimono. Men's sleeves are less deep than women's kimono sleeves to accommodate the obi around the waist beneath them, whereas on a woman's kimono, the long, unattached bottom of the sleeve can hang over the obi without getting in the way.

Jinbaori - Kimono tabards for armoured Samurai

In the modern era, the principal distinctions between men's kimono are in the fabric. The typical men's kimono is a subdued, dark color; black, dark blues, greens, and browns are common. Fabrics are usually matte. Some have a subtle pattern, and textured fabrics are common in more casual kimono. More casual kimono may be made in slightly brighter colors, such as lighter purples, greens and blues. Sumo wrestlers have occasionally been known to wear quite bright colors such as fuchsia.

The most formal style of kimono is plain black silk with five kamon on the chest, shoulders and back. Slightly less formal is the three-kamon kimono.

Accessories and related garmentsEdit

A traditional silk datejime with stiffer middle and softer ends
Women's straw zōri
Datejime (伊達締め) or datemaki (伊達巻き)
A wide undersash used to tie the nagajuban and the outer kimono and hold them in place.
Eri-sugata (衿姿)
A detached collar that can be worn instead of a nagajuban in summer, when it can be too hot to comfortably wear a nagajuban. It replaces the nagajuban collar in supporting the kimono's collar.
Fundoshi ()
The traditional Japanese undergarment (G-string codpiece) for adult males, made by a length of cotton.
Geta (下駄)
Wooden sandals worn by men and women with yukata. One unique style is worn solely by geisha.
Hadajuban (肌襦袢)
(lit. "Skin Underwear"), hadajuban are special undergarments for wearing under kimono, similar to a Western camisole; usually short in make, going down to the hips, and made from cotton, so as to absorb sweat and provide comfort.
Hakama ()
A divided (umanoribakama) or undivided skirt (andonbakama) which resembles a wide pair of trousers, traditionally worn by men but contemporarily also by women in less formal situations. A hakama typically is pleated and fastened by ribbons, tied around the waist over the obi. Men's hakama also have a koshi ita, which is a stiff or padded part in the lower back of the wearer. Hakama are worn in several budo arts such as aikido, kendo, iaidō and naginata. Hakama are often worn by women at college graduation ceremonies, and by Miko on shinto shrines. Depending on the pattern and material, hakama can range from very formal to visiting wear.
Hanten (袢纏)
The worker's version of the more formal haori. Often padded for warmth, as opposed to the somewhat lighter happi.
Haori (羽織)
A hip- or thigh-length kimono-like jacket, which adds formality to an outfit. Haori were originally worn only by men, until it became a fashion for women in the Meiji period. They are now worn by both men and women. . The jinbaori (陣羽織) was specifically made for armoured samurai to wear.
Haori-himo (羽織紐)
A tasseled, woven string fastener for haori. The most formal color is white.
Happi (法被)
A type of haori traditionally worn by shop keepers and is now associated mostly with festivals.
Hiyoku (ひよく)
A type of under-kimono, historically worn by women beneath the kimono. Today they are only worn on formal occasions such as weddings and other important social events. High class kimonos may have extra layers of lining to emulate the appearance of hiyoku worn beneath.
Inrō (印籠)
a traditional Japanese case for holding small objects, suspended from the obi (sash) worn around the waist. They are often highly decorated, in a variety of materials and techniques, in particular often using lacquer, and accompanied with a netsuke.
Juban (襦袢) and Hadajuban (肌襦袢)
A thin garment similar to an undershirt. It is worn under the nagajuban.[24][25]
Jittoku (十徳)
Sometimes called a jittoku haori, is a type of haori worn only by men. Jittoku are only made of unlined ro or sha silk gauze regardless of the season. It falls to the hip, and has sewn himo made of the same fabric as the main garment. While a haori has a small sleeve opening like that of a kimono, a jittoku is fully open at the wrist side. Jittoku do not have mon. Jittoku originated in the Kamakura period (1185-1333 CE), and by the Edo period (1603-1868) they were worn with kimono by male doctors, monks, Confucian scholars and tea ceremony masters as kinagashi (as a replacement for hakama). In the modern day they are worn as kinagashi mainly by male practitioners of tea ceremony who have achieved a sufficiently high rank.
Kinchaku (巾着)
A traditional Japanese drawstring bag or pouch, worn like a purse or handbag (similar to the English reticule), for carrying around personal possessions (money, etc.), similar to a sagemono (see below). Also referred to as Kimono Bags (as well as Western-style handbags that have been made with the same materials as the kimono, the obi (and even from tenugui (tenugui (手拭い), lit. Japanese "hand towel")), so as to co-ordinate them with the kimono, obi and other accessories).
Kanzashi ()
Hair ornaments worn by women. Many different styles exist, including silk flowers, wooden combs, and jade hairpins.
Kimono slip (着物スリップ, kimono surippu)
[26] The susoyoke and hadajuban combined into a one-piece garment.[27][28]
Koshihimo (腰紐)
A narrow sash used to aid in dressing up, often made of silk or wool. They are used to hold virtually anything in place during the process of dressing up, and can be used in many ways depending on what is worn. Some of the karihimos are removed after datejime or obi have been tied, while others remain worn beneath the layers of the dress. The karihimo that is worn around the hips to create the extra fold or ohashori in women's kimono is called koshihimo, literally "hip ribbon".
Nagajuban (長襦袢)
A kimono-shaped robe worn by both men and women beneath the main outer garment[29]. Since silk kimono are delicate and difficult to clean, the nagajuban helps to keep the outer kimono clean by preventing contact with the wearer's skin. Only the collar edge of the nagajuban shows from beneath the outer kimono.[30] Many nagajuban have removable collars, to allow them to be changed to match the outer garment, and to be easily washed without washing the entire garment. While the most formal type of nagajuban are white, they are often as beautifully ornate and patterned as the outer kimono. Since men's kimono are usually fairly subdued in pattern and color, the nagajuban allows for discreetly wearing very striking designs and colors.[31] Often worn over a hadajuban (see above).
Netsuke (根付) or Netsuke (根付け)
An ornament worn suspended from the men's obi.
Obi ()
The tie belt or sash for traditional Japanese dress, keikogi (uniforms for Japanese martial arts), and part of kimono outfits. The formal ones worn with womens' kimono can be 30 centimetres (12 in') wide and more than 4 metres (13 ft.) long, and include some of the most elaborate and conspicuous features of her attire, more-so then the kimono-itself, as they can be tied into variously-named decorative Musubi (結び) (lit. "knots").
Obi-age (帯揚げ)
The scarf-like sash which is knotted and tied above the obi and tucked into the top of the obi. Worn with the more formal varieties of kimono, and serves as decorates the top part of an obi belt; there are many types and designs: shibori, embroidered, etc.; although you can only see a little bit of it, it has an important role as a decoration.
Obijime (帯締め)
The colourful, decorative ropes, cords or strings, used to hold an obi belt in place and helps it keep its shape; also serves as a decoration around the obi belt. An ojime (see below) was used to fasten the obijime in place (similar to a netsuke), and also serves as a decoration.
Ojime (緒締め)
(lit. "cord fastener") are a type of bead which originated in Japan, and were used to fasten a obijime in place. They were also worn between the inrō and netsuke and are typically under an inch in length. Each is carved into a particular shape and image, similar to the netsuke, though smaller.
Sagemono (提げ物)
A pouch or carrying container hung from the waist, such as a coin purse, tobacco pouch, or pillbox (usually accompanied by a netsuke), similar to a kinchaku (see above).
Sarashi ()
A long strip of white cloth, usually thick cotton, wrapped tightly around the midriff up to the chest (similar to a European girdle); normally used by woman to bind their breasts and create a more slim figure, which is desired for a kimono. They're also sometimes worn after the birth of a child. It was also used as a protective garment by men, worn under kimono by samurai (to resist injury); its association with warriors has made it a near-universal symbol of toughness in Japan.
Samue (作務衣)
The everyday clothes for a male Zen Buddhist monk, and the favoured garment for shakuhachi players.
Sensu (扇子)
A handheld fan (either an ōgi () or an uchiwa (団扇)), generally of thick paper coated in paint, lacquer or gold leaf, with wooden spines, often lacquered. As well as being used for cooling-off, fans are used as dancing props and to maintain makeup and are kept in the folds of the obi.
Setta (雪駄)
A flat, thick bottomed sandal made of bamboo bark and straw with leather soles.
Suikan (水干)
A kind of a tunic, an informal garment worn by males of the Japanese nobility and officials.
Susoyoke (裾除け)
A thin half-slip-like piece of underwear worn by women under the nagajuban.[24][32]
Tabi (足袋)
Ankle-high, divided-toe socks usually worn with zōri or geta. There also exist sturdier, boot-like jikatabi, which are used for example to fieldwork.
Waraji (草鞋)
Traditional sandels made of straw rope and bamboo bark and designed to wrap securely around the wearer's foot and up around the ankle; mostly worn by monks, and others who often travelled long-distance by foot (traders and merchants, etc.).
Yukata (浴衣)
An unlined kimono-like garment for summer use, usually made of cotton, linen, or hemp. Yukata are strictly informal, most often worn to outdoor festivals, by men and women of all ages. They are also worn at onsen (hot spring) resorts, where they are often provided for the guests in the resort's own pattern.
Yumoji (湯文字)
The traditional Japanese undergarment (like a loincloth or perizoma) for adult females; it may also be worn as a kimono underskirt, and as a single-layer absorbent bathrobe (worn during or after a bath).
Zōri (草履)
Traditional sandals worn by both men and women, similar in design to flip-flops. Their formality ranges from strictly informal to fully formal. They are made of many materials, including cloth, leather, vinyl and woven grass, and can be highly decorated or very simple.


In modern-day Japan the meanings of the layering of kimono and hiyoku are usually forgotten. Only maiko and geisha now use this layering technique for dances and subtle erotic suggestion, usually emphasising the back of the neck. Modern Japanese brides may also wear a traditional Shinto bridal kimono which is worn with a hiyoku.

Traditionally kimonos were worn with hiyoku or floating linings. Hiyoku can be a second kimono worn beneath the first and give the traditional layered look to the kimono. Often in modern kimonos the hiyoku is simply the name for the double-sided lower half of the kimono which may be exposed to other eyes depending on how the kimono is worn.

Old-fashioned kimono styles meant that hiyoku were entire under-kimono, however modern day layers are usually only partial, to give the impression of layering.


How to fold a kimono

In the past, a kimono would often be entirely taken apart for washing, and then re-sewn for wearing.[9] This traditional washing method is called arai hari. Because the stitches must be taken out for washing, traditional kimono need to be hand sewn. Arai hari is very expensive and difficult and is one of the causes of the declining popularity of kimono. Modern fabrics and cleaning methods have been developed that eliminate this need, although the traditional washing of kimono is still practiced, especially for high-end garments.

New, custom-made kimono are generally delivered to a customer with long, loose basting stitches placed around the outside edges. These stitches are called shitsuke ito. They are sometimes replaced for storage. They help to prevent bunching, folding and wrinkling, and keep the kimono's layers in alignment.

Like many other traditional Japanese garments, there are specific ways to fold kimono. These methods help to preserve the garment and to keep it from creasing when stored. Kimonos are often stored wrapped in paper called tatōshi.

Kimono need to be aired out at least seasonally and before and after each time they are worn. Many people prefer to have their kimono dry cleaned. Although this can be extremely expensive, it is generally less expensive than arai hari but may be impossible for certain fabrics or dyes.


  1. ^ Video reference showing Atami geisha Kyouma being dressed in hikizuri - the second video shows the difference between ohashori length at the front and back, and how it is tied into the obi so as to be not visible.[23]


  1. ^ "Six words that mean "to wear/put on" in Japanese". Living Language. Penguin Random House. Retrieved 14 May 2019.
  2. ^ "''kimono'' from". Merriam-Webster. 2010-08-13. Retrieved 2012-07-22.
  3. ^ Hanami Web - Inside Japan. All rights reserved. "What Kimono Signifies". HanamiWeb. Retrieved 2012-07-22.
  4. ^ Sharnoff, Lora (1993). Grand Sumo. Weatherhill. ISBN 0-8348-0283-X.
  5. ^ Jill Liddell (1989). The Story of the Kimono. E.P. Dutton, p. 28. ISBN 978-0525245742
  6. ^ Bardo Fassbender、Anne Peters、Simone Peter、Daniel Högger (2012). The Oxford Handbook of the History of International Law. Oxford University Press, p. 477. ISBN 978-0198725220
  7. ^ Elizabeth LaCouture, Journal of Design History, Vol. 30, Issue 3, 1 September 2017, Pages 300–314.
  8. ^ J. Liddell, The story of the kimono, EP Dutton New York, 1989.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Cite error: The named reference Dalby was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  10. ^ 1871(明治5)年11月12日太政官布告399号
  11. ^ Cite error: The named reference :0 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  12. ^ [1] Archived July 23, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ 更新日:2010年11月25日. "戦時衣生活簡素化実施要綱". Archived from the original on 2008-06-16. Retrieved 2012-07-22.
  14. ^ "国民服令". Retrieved 2012-07-22.
  15. ^ "国民服制式特例". Retrieved 2012-07-22.
  16. ^ Ruddick, Graham (12 August 2014). "Rise of the kimono, the Japanese fashion taking Britain by storm". The Telegraph. Retrieved 12 August 2014.
  17. ^ Butler, Sarah; Moulds, Josephine; Cochrane, Lauren (12 August 2014). "Kimonos on a roll as high street sees broad appeal of Japanese garment". Retrieved 12 August 2014.
  18. ^ "男のきもの大全". 1999-02-22. Retrieved 2012-08-13.
  19. ^ Hindell, Juliet (May 22, 1999). "World: Asia-Pacific Saving the kimono". BBC. Retrieved 2007-09-20.
  20. ^ Tsuruoka, Hiroyuki. "The unspoiled market found by the lost office workers". Japan Business Press (in Japanese). Retrieved 14 May 2019.
  21. ^ Archived 2007-11-07 at the Wayback Machine
  22. ^ Coline, Youandi. "Are kimono and hikizuri the same?". Chayatsuji Kimono. Retrieved 14 May 2019.
  23. ^ "[Video from Atami Geigi Kenban on Instagram]" (in Japanese). 11 December 2018. Retrieved 14 May 2019.
  24. ^ a b Yamanaka, Norio (1982). The Book of Kimono. Tokyo; New York: Kodansha International, p. 60. ISBN 0-87011-500-6 (USA), ISBN 4-7700-0986-0 (Japan).
  25. ^ Underwear (Hadagi): Hada-Juban. KIDORAKU Japan. Accessed 22 October 2009.
  26. ^ A search for "着物スリップ". Rakuten. Accessed 22 October 2009.
  27. ^ Yamanaka, Norio (1982). The Book of Kimono. Tokyo; New York: Kodansha International, p. 76. ISBN 0-87011-500-6 (USA), ISBN 4-7700-0986-0 (Japan).
  28. ^ Underwear (Hadagi): Kimono Slip. KIDORAKU Japan. Accessed 22 October 2009.
  29. ^ Yamanaka, Norio (1982). The Book of Kimono. Tokyo; New York: Kodansha International, p. 61. ISBN 0-87011-500-6 (USA), ISBN 4-7700-0986-0 (Japan).
  30. ^ Nagajuban undergarment for Japanese kimono
  31. ^ Imperatore, Cheryl, & MacLardy, Paul (2001). Kimono Vanishing Tradition: Japanese Textiles of the 20th Century. Atglen, Penn.: Schiffer Publishing. Chap. 3 "Nagajuban—Undergarments", pp. 32–46. ISBN 0-7643-1228-6. OCLC 44868854.
  32. ^ Underwear (Hadagi): Susoyoke. KIDORAKU Japan. Accessed 22 October 2009.

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Craft materialsEdit