The kimono (きもの/着物, lit., "thing to wear" – from the verb "to wear (on the shoulders)" (, ki), and the noun "thing" (, mono))[1] is a traditional Japanese garment and the national dress of Japan. The kimono is a T-shaped, wrapped-front garment with square sleeves and a rectangular body, and is worn left side wrapped over right, unless the wearer is deceased.[2] The kimono is traditionally worn with a broad sash, called an obi, and is commonly worn with accessories such as zōri sandals and tabi socks.

A young woman wearing a light yellow kimono sat kneeling.
A young woman wearing a kimono.
Kimono
Kimono (Chinese characters).svg
"Kimono" in kanji
Japanese name
Kanji着物
The back view of a long sleeved kimono decorated with a large tree and flowers on a black, yellow and wave-patterned background.
Kimono for a young woman, depicting a boat on swirling water, with pine tree, plum blossoms and maples. Japan, 1912–1926. From the Khalili Collection of Kimono
A woman standing outside a building wearing a short sleeved light pink kimono with a gold belt.
Woman in kimono at Fukuoka City Hall

Kimono have a set method of construction and are typically made from a long, narrow bolt of cloth known as a tanmono, though Western-style fabric bolts are also sometimes used.[3] There are different types of kimono for men, women and children, varying based on the occasion, the season, the wearer's age, and - less commonly in the modern day - the wearer's marital status. Despite perception of the kimono as a formal and difficult to wear garment, there are types of kimono suitable for every formality, including informal occasions. The way a person wears their kimono is known as kitsuke (着付け, lit., "dressing").

In the present day, the kimono is not typically worn as everyday dress, and has steadily fallen out of fashion as the most common garment for a Japanese person to own and wear. Kimono are now most frequently seen at summer festivals, where people frequently wear the yukata, the most informal type of kimono; however, more formal types of kimono are also worn to funerals, weddings, graduations, and other formal events. Other people who commonly wear kimono include geisha and maiko, who are required to wear it as part of their profession, and rikishi, or sumo wrestlers, who must wear kimono at all times in public.[4]

Despite the low numbers of people who wear kimono commonly and the garment's reputation as a complicated article of clothing, the kimono has experienced a number of revivals in previous decades, and is still worn today as fashionable clothing within Japan.

HistoryEdit

Yamato period (300–710 CE)Edit

The first instances of kimono-like garments in Japan were traditional Chinese clothing introduced to Japan via Chinese envoys in the Kofun period (300 – 538 CE; the first part of the Yamato period), with immigration between the two countries and envoys to the Tang dynasty court leading to Chinese styles of dress, appearance and culture becoming extremely popular in Japanese court society.[1] The Imperial Japanese court quickly adopted Chinese styles of dress and clothing,[6] with evidence of the oldest samples of shibori tie-dyed fabric stored at the Shōsōin Temple being Chinese in origin, due to the limitations of Japan's ability to produce the fabrics at the time.[7] As early as the 4th century CE, images of priestess-queens and tribal chiefs in Japan depicted figures wearing clothing similar that of Han dynasty China.[8]

Nara period (710–794 CE)Edit

In 718 CE, the Yoro clothing code was instituted, which stipulated that all robes had to be overlapped at the front with a left-to-right closure, following typical Chinese fashions.[9]: 133–136  This convention of wear is still followed today, with a right-to-left closure worn only by the deceased.[9]

Upper-class clothing was significantly simpler to don and wear than later Heian dress.[10] Status was associated with covering more of the body, so sleeves, while narrow, were long enough to cover the fingers.[11][10]

Heian period to Azuchi-Momoyama period (794–1600)Edit

During the Heian period (794-1193 CE), Japan stopped sending envoys to the Chinese dynastic courts. This prevented Chinese-imported goods—including clothing—from entering the Imperial Palace and disseminating to the upper classes, who were the main arbiters of traditional Japanese culture at the time and the only people allowed to wear such clothing. The ensuing cultural vacuum facilitated the development of a Japanese culture independent from Chinese fashions. Elements previously lifted from the Tang Dynastic courts developed independently into what is known literally as "national culture" or "kokufū culture" (国風文化, kokufū-bunka), the term used to refer to Heian-period Japanese culture, particularly that of the upper classes.[12]

Clothing became increasingly stylised, with some elements—such as the round-necked and tube-sleeved chun ju jacket, worn by both genders in the early 7th century—being abandoned by both male and female courtiers. Others, such as the wrapped front robes also worn by men and women, were kept. Some elements, such as the mo skirt worn by women, continued on in a reduced capacity, worn only to formal occasions;[1] the () grew too narrow to wrap all the way around and became a trapezoidal pleated train.[13] Hakama (trousers) became longer than the legs and also trailed behind the wearer.[14]

During the later Heian period, various clothing edicts reduced the number of layers a woman could wear, leading to the kosode (lit., "small sleeve") garment—previously considered underwear—becoming outerwear by the time of the Muromachi period (1336-1573 CE). Originally worn with hakama, the kosode began to be held closed with a small belt known as an obi instead.[1] The kosode resembled a modern kimono, though at this time the sleeves were sewn shut at the back and were smaller in width (shoulder seam to cuff) than the body of the garment. During the Sengoku period (1467-1615) and the Azuchi-Momoyama period (1568-1600), decoration of the kosode developed further, with bolder designs and flashy primary colours becoming popular.[citation needed] By this time, separate lower-body garments such as the and hakama were almost never worn,[14] allowing full-length patterns to be seen.

Edo period (1603-1867)Edit

 
The overall silhouette of the kimono transformed during the Edo period due to the evolution of the obi, the sleeves, and the style of wearing multiple layered kimono. (Utagawa Kuniyoshi, Plum Blossoms at Night, woodblock print, 19th century)

During the Edo period (1603-1867 CE), both Japan's culture and economy developed significantly. A particular factor in the development of the Edo period was the early Genroku period (1688-1704 CE), wherein "Genroku culture" - luxurious displays of wealth and increased patronage of the arts - led to the further development of many art forms, including those of clothing. Genroku culture was spearheaded by the growing and increasingly-powerful merchant classes (chōnin); the clothing of chōnin classes, representative of their increasing economic power, rivalled that of the aristocracy and samurai classes, with their brightly-coloured kimono utilising expensive production techniques, such as handpainted dyework. Rinzu, a damask fabric, also became the preferred material for kimono at this time, replacing the previously-popular nerinuki plain-weave silk, which had been used to create tsujigahana.[16]

In response to the increasing material wealth of the merchant classes, the Tokugawa shogunate issued a number of sumptuary laws on kimono for the lower classes, prohibiting the use of purple or red fabric, gold embroidery, and the use of intricately dyed shibori patterns.[17] As a result, a school of aesthetic thought known as "iki", which valued and prioritised the display of wealth through almost mundane appearances, developed, a concept of kimono design and wear that continues to this day as a major influence.

From this point onwards, the basic shape of both men's and women's kimono remained largely unchanged.[1] In the Edo period, the sleeves of the kosode began to grow in length, especially amongst unmarried women, and the obi became much longer and wider, with various styles of knots coming into fashion, alongside stiffer weaves of material to support them.[1]

In the Edo period, the kimono market was divided into craftspeople, who made the tanmono and accessories, tonya, or wholesalers, and retailers.[18]: 129 

Meiji period (1868–1912)Edit

Part of the Ootuki family in kimono, 1874
Assorted types of kimono, Western dress, a court lady in keiko, and a schoolgirl in a high-collared shirt, kimono and hakama. 1890.
Family of Horiai Setsuko, May 1912, some in European dress, some in kimono, some wearing hakama. Women's hakama spread from the court as part of Japanese reform dress

In 1869, the class system was abolished, and with them, class-specific dress codes.[18]: 113  Kimono with formerly-restricted elements, like red and purple colours, became popular,[18]: 147  particularly with the advent of synthetic dyestuffs such as mauvine.

Following the opening of Japan's borders in the early Meiji period to Western trade, a number of materials and techniques - such as wool and the use of synthetic dyestuffs - became popular, with casual wool kimono being relatively common in pre-1960s Japan; the use of safflower dye ('beni') for silk linings fabrics (known as 'momi'; literally, "red silk") was also common in pre-1960s Japan, making kimono from this era easily identifiable.

During the Meiji period, the opening of Japan to Western trade after the enclosure of the Edo period led to a drive towards Western dress as a sign of "modernity". After an edict by Emperor Meiji,[citation needed] policemen, railroad workers and teachers moved to wearing Western clothing within their job roles, with the adoption of Western clothing by men in Japan happening at a much greater pace than by women. Initiatives such as the Tokyo Women's & Children's Wear Manufacturers' Association (東京婦人子供服組合) promoted Western dress as everyday clothing.

Taishō period (1912–1926)Edit

Western clothing quickly became standard issue as army uniform for men[19] and school uniform for boys, and between 1920 and 1930, the fuku sailor outfit replaced the kimono and undivided hakama as school uniform for girls.[1]: 140 However, kimono still remained popular as an item of everyday fashion; following the Great Kantō Earthquake of 1923, cheap, informal and ready-to-wear meisen kimono, woven from raw and waste silk threads unsuitable for other uses, became highly popular, following the loss of many people's possessions.[20] By 1930, ready-to-wear meisen kimono had become highly popular for their bright, seasonally changing designs, many of which took inspiration from the Art Deco movement. Meisen kimono were usually dyed using the ikat (kasuri) technique of dyeing, where either warp or both warp and weft threads (known as heiyō-gasuri)[20]: 85  were dyed using a stencil pattern before weaving.

It was during the Taishō period that formalisation of kimono and kimono types began. With class distinctions in dress no longer existing, in recognising that men could no longer be expected to buy kimono, the kimono industry established its own traditions of formal and informal dress for women; this saw the invention of the hōmongi, divisions of tomesode (short-sleeved) kimono for women, and montsuki hakama.[18]: 133-134 The bridal kimono trousseau (oyomeiri dōgu), an uncommon practice of the upper classes in the Edo period, also became common;[18]: 67, 76  traditions of kimono bridalwear for marriage ceremonies were also codified in this time, which resembled the bridalwear of samurai-class women.[18]: 82, 93, 146 

Shōwa period (1926–1989)Edit

While kimono were no longer common wear for men, they remained everyday wear for Japanese women until World War II (1940-1945).[18]: 17  Though the Taishō period had seen a number of invented traditions, standards of kitsuke (wearing kimono) were not as formalised in this time, with creases, uneven ohashori and crooked obi still deemed acceptable.[18]: 44-45 

During the war, kimono factories shut down, and the government encouraged people to wear monpe - trousers constructed from old kimono - instead.[18]: 131  Fibres such as rayon became widespread during WWII, being inexpensive to produce and cheap to buy, and typically featured printed designs.[citation needed] Cloth rationing persisted until 1951, so most kimono were made at home from repurposed fabrics.[18]: 131 

In the second half of the 20th century, the Japanese economy boomed,[18]: 36  and silk became cheaper,[citation needed] making it possible for the average family to afford silk kimono.[18]: 76  The kimono retail industry had developed an elaborate codification of rules for kimono-wearing, with types of kimono, levels of formality, and rules on seasonality, which intensified after the war; there had previously been rules about kimono-wearing, but these were not rigidly codified and varied by region and class.[18]: 36  Formalisation sought perfection, with no creases or uneveness in the kimono, and an increasingly tubular figure was promoted as the ideal for women in kimono.[18]: 44-45  The kimono-retail industry also promoted a sharp distinction between Japanese and Western clothes;[18]: 54  for instance, wearing Western shoes with Japanese clothing (while common in the Taishō period) was codified as improper;[18]: 16  these rules on proper dressing are often described in Japanese using the English phrase "Time, Place, and Occasion" (TPO). As neither Japanese men or women commonly wore kimono, commercial kitsuke schools were set up to teach women how to don kimono.[18]: 44  Men in this period rarely wore kimono, and menswear thus escaped most of the formalisation.[18]: 36, 133 ).

Kimono were promoted as essential for ceremonial occasions;[18]: 76, 135  for instance, the expensive furisode worn by young women for Seijinshiki was deemed a necessity.[18]: 60  Bridal trousseaus containing tens of kimono of every possible subtype were also promoted as de riguer, and parents felt obliged to provide[18]: 76  kimono trousseaus that cost up to 10 million yen (~£70,000),[18]: 262  which were displayed and inspected publicly as part of the wedding, including being transported in transparent trucks.[18]: 81 

By the 1970s, formal kimono formed the vast majority of kimono sales.[18]: 132  Kimono retailers, due to the pricing structure of brand new kimono, had developed a relative monopoly on not only prices but also a perception of kimono knowledge, allowing them to dictate prices and heavily promote more formal (and expensive) purchases, as selling a single formal kimono could support the seller comfortably for three months. The kimono industry peaked in 1975, with total sales of 2.8 trillion yen (~£18 billion). The sale of informal brand new kimono was largely neglected.[18]: 135, 136 

Heisei period (1989–2019)Edit

The economic collapse of the 1990s bankrupted much of the kimono industry[18]: 129  and ended a number of expensive practices.[18]: 98  The rules for how to wear kimono lost their previous hold over the entire industry,[18]: 36  and formerly-expensive traditions such as bridal kimono trousseaus generally disappeared, and when still given, were much less extensive.[18]: 98  It was during this time that it became acceptable and even preferred for women to wear Western dress to ceremonial occasions like weddings and funerals.[18]: 95, 263  Many women had dozens or even hundreds of kimono, mostly unworn, in their homes; a secondhand kimono, even if unworn, would sell for about 500 yen (less than £3.50;[18]: 98  about $5 US), a few percent of the bought-new price. In the 1990s and early 2000s, many secondhand kimono shops opened as a result of this.[18]: 98 

In the early years of the 21st century, the cheaper and simpler yukata became popular with young people.[18]: 37  Around 2010, men began wearing kimono again in situations other than their own wedding,[18]: 36, 159  and kimono were again promoted and worn as everyday dress by a small minority.[18]

Reiwa period (2019–present)Edit

Today, the vast majority of people in Japan wear Western clothing in the everyday, and are most likely to wear kimono either to formal occasions such as wedding ceremonies and funerals, or to summer events, where the standard kimono is the easy-to-wear, single-layer cotton yukata.

In 2019, the mayor of Kyoto announced that his staff were working to register "Kimono Culture" on UNESCO's intangible cultural heritage list.[21]

TextilesEdit

 
A child wearing a furisode kimono in full formal dress

Both kimono and obi are made from a wide variety of fibre types, including hemp, linen, silk, Japanese crêpe (known as chirimen), and figured damask weaves (rinzu). Fabrics are typically – for both obi and kimono – woven as tanmono (bolts of narrow width), save for certain types of obi (such as the maru obi), woven to double-width. Formal kimono are almost always made from silk, with thicker, heavier, stiff or matte fabrics generally being considered informal.

Modern kimono are widely available in fabrics considered easier to care for, such as polyester. Kimono linings are typically silk or imitation silk, and generally match the top fabric in fibre type, though the lining of some casual silk kimono may be cotton, wool or linen.

Kimono motifsEdit

 
This modern yukata is machine-dyed with nadeshiko motifs - a September motif.

Kimono fabrics are often decorated, sometimes by hand, before construction. Customarily, woven patterns are considered more informal within kimono, though for obi, the reverse is true, with dyed patterns being less formal than the sometimes very heavily woven brocade fabrics used in formal obi. Traditionally, woven kimono are matched with obi decorated with dyed patterns, and vice versa, though for all but the most formal kimono, this is more of a general suggestion than a strict rule. Formal kimono are almost-entirely decorated with dyed patterns, commonly along the hem.[22]

Many kimono motifs are seasonal, and denote the season in which the kimono can be worn; however, some motifs have no season and can be worn all-year round; others, such as the combination of pine, plum and bamboo - known as the Three Friends of Winter - are auspicious, and thus worn to formal occasions for the entire year. Motifs seen on yukata are commonly seasonal motifs worn out of season, either to denote the spring just passed or the desire for cooler autumn or winter temperatures. Colour also contributes to the seasonality of kimono, with some seasons - such as autumn - generally favouring warmer, darker colours over lighter, cooler ones.

A number of different guides on seasonal kimono motifs exist,[23] with some guides - such as those for tea ceremony in particular - being especially stringent on their reflection of the seasons.[24] Motifs typically represent either the flora, fauna, landscape or otherwise culture of Japan - such as cherry blossoms, a famously seasonal motif worn in spring until just before the actual cherry blossoms begin to bloom, it being considered unlucky to try and 'compete' with the cherries. Motifs are typically worn a few weeks before the official 'start' of any given season, it being considered fashionable to anticipate the coming season.

In the modern era, the principal distinction of men's kimono is the fabric. The typical men's kimono is a subdued, dark colour; 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 colours, such as lighter purples, greens and blues. Sumo wrestlers have occasionally been known to wear quite bright colours such as fuchsia.

TermsEdit

 
Patchwork haori for tea ceremony (chabaori), c. 1800; the areas likely to have been damaged are made in another colour. Paper and silk.

The fabrics that kimono are made from are classified in two categories within Japan. Gofuku (呉服) is the term used to indicate silk kimono fabrics, composed of the characters 'go' () (meaning "Wu" - a kingdom in ancient China where the technology of weaving silk developed) and 'fuku' () (meaning "clothing").[18]: 115 [25]

The term 'gofuku' is also used to refer to kimono in general within Japan, particularly within the context of the kimono industry, as traditional kimono shops are referred to as either gofukuten (呉服店) or gofukuya (呉服屋) - with the additional character of 'ya' () meaning 'shop'.[26]

Cotton and hemp fabrics are referred to generally as futomono (太物), meaning "thick materials", with both cotton and hemp yarns being considerably thicker than silk yarns used for weaving. Cotton kimono are specifically referred to in the context of materials as momenfuku (木綿服), "cotton clothes", whereas hemp kimono are known as asafuku (麻服), "hemp clothes", in Japanese, with the character for hemp - 'asa' () - also being used to refer widely to hemp, linen and ramie kimono fabrics.

Mercers' termsEdit

Until the end of the Edo period, the tailoring of both gofuku and futomono fabrics was separated, with silk kimono handled at shops known as 'gofuku dana', and kimono of other fibres sold at shops known as 'futomono dana'. Stores that handled all types of fabric were known as 'gofuku futomono dana', though after the Meiji period, stores only retailing futomono kimono became less profitable in the face of cheaper everyday Western clothing, and eventually went out of business, leaving only gofuku stores to sell kimono - leading to kimono shops becoming known only as gofukuya today.[citation needed]

ReuseEdit

Kimono can readily be resized, or dismantled back into tanmono (bolt) lengths.[18]: 131, 147 

Outside of being re-woven into new fabrics, worn-out kimono have historically been recycled in a variety of ways, depending on the type of kimono and its original use.[18]: 131  When the cloth is worn out, it may be used as fabric for smaller items or to create boroboro (patchwork) kimono (which were also sometimes made for the sake of fashion[27]). The fact that the pattern pieces of a kimono consist of rectangles, and not complex shapes, make reuse in garments or other items easier.[28] Sashiko are used to hold cloth together and decorate it. The cloth used for patchwork clothing must all be of similar weight, elasticity, and stiffness.

Formal kimono, made of expensive and thin silk fabrics, would have been re-sewn into children's kimono when they became unusable for adults, as they were typically unsuitable for practical clothing; kimono were shortened, with the okumi taken off and the collar re-sewn to create haori, or were simply cut at the waist to create a side-tying jacket. After marriage or a certain age, young women would shorten the sleeves of their kimono; the excess fabric would be used as a furoshiki (wrapping cloth), could be used to lengthen the kimono at the waist, or could be used to create a patchwork undergarment known as a dounuki. Kimono that were in better condition could be re-used as an under-kimono, or to create a false underlayer known as a hiyoku.

Children also traditionally wore kataire, kimono made of a fancier material in the okumi and upper back.[29] : 16 

ConstructionEdit

 
Cutting a kimono from a tanmono
 
How a kimono is assembled from pieces cut from a tanmono
The hatless child in the pale kimono most clearly shows the shoulder tucks and hip overfold used to adjust size
Kata-nue-age, shoulder tucks to adjust size for children

Kimono are traditionally made from a single bolt of fabric known as a tanmono, which is roughly 11.5 metres (38 ft) long and 36 centimetres (14 in) wide for women,[1] and 12.5 metres (41 ft) long and 42 centimetres (17 in) wide for men. The entire bolt is used to make one kimono, and some men's tanmono are woven to be long enough to create a matching haori jacket and juban as well. Kimono linings are made from bolts of the same width.

Some custom bolts of fabric are produced for especially tall or heavy people, such as sumo wrestlers, who must have kimono custom-made by either joining multiple bolts, weaving custom-width fabric, or using non-standard size fabric.[30] For children, in the early 1900s, shorter lengths were used, and sometimes the body of the kimono was made only a single cloth width wide (hitotsumi).[31] Tucks were also used to take in the garment; an outwards-facing pleat at each shoulder (kata-nue-age) and a kolpos-like overfold at the hip (koshi-nue-age), so that the child appeared to be wearing a sleeveless vest of the same fabric over their garment. These sewn tucks were let out as the child grew,[29]: 15  and are mostly only seen today on the kimono of apprentice geisha in Kyoto, as apprentices previously began their training at a young age, requiring tucks to be let out as they grew. In the present day, apprentices begin their training aged 17-18, and the tucks are retained merely as an anachronism.

Though adult women also retained a 'tuck' at the hip, this was a leftover from the trailing length of most women's kimono, which had previously been either held up by hand when walking or tied up loosely with a shigoki obi; though kimono were not worn as trailing towards the end of the 19th century, the excess length of most women's kimono remained, with the hip fold formalised and neatened into the ohashori of the modern day.

Kimono have a set method of construction, which allows the entire garment to be taken apart, cleaned and resewn easily. As the seam allowance on nearly every panel features two selvedges that will not fray, the woven edges of the fabric bolt are retained when the kimono is sewn, leading to large and often uneven seam allowances; unlike Western clothing, the seam allowances are not trimmed down, allowing for a kimono to be resewn to different measurements without the fabric fraying at the seams.[citation needed] This was also used to prolong the life of the garment by reversing the sleeves (hiding the worn cuff hem in the shoulder seam) or the back panels (swapping the high-stress center seam and the low-stress sides),[32] like the European custom of side-to-middling or end-to-middling bedsheets.

Historically, kimono were taken apart entirely to be washed - a process known as arai-hari. Once cleaned, the fabric would be resewn by hand;[1] this process, though necessary in previous centuries, is uncommon in modern-day Japan, as it is relatively expensive.

Despite the expense of hand-sewing, however, some modern kimono, including silk kimono and all formal kimono, are still hand-sewn entirely; even machine-sewn kimono require some degree of hand-sewing, particularly in finishing the collar, the hem, and the lining, if present. Hand-sewn kimono are usually sewn with a single running stitch roughly 3 millimetres (0.12 in) to 4 millimetres (0.16 in) long, with stitches growing shorter around the collar area for strength. Kimono seams, instead of being pressed entirely flat, are pressed to have a 'lip' of roughly 2 millimetres (0.079 in) (known as the kise) pressed over each seam. This disguises the stitches, as hand-sewn kimono are not tightly sewn, rendering the stitches visible if pressed entirely flat.

TermsEdit

 
Diagram of the kimono parts

A number of different terms are used to refer to the different parts of a kimono. Kimono that are lined are known as awase kimono, whereas unlined kimono are known as hitoe kimono; partially lined kimono — with lining only at the sleeve cuff, the back of the sleeve, the lower chest portion of the dōura and the entirety of the hakkake — are known as dou-bitoe (lit., "chest-single-layer") kimono.[33] Some fully lined kimono do not have a separate lower and upper lining, and are instead lined with solid panels on the okumi, the maemigoro and the ushiromigoro.

These terms refer to parts of a kimono:

  • Dōura (胴裏): the upper lining of a kimono.
  • Hakkake (八掛): the lower lining of a kimono.
  • Eri (): the collar.
  • Fuki (): the hem guard.
  • Furi (振り): lit., "dangling" — the part of the sleeve left hanging below the armhole.
  • Maemigoro (前身頃): lit., "front body" — the front panels on a kimono, excluding the okumi. The panels are divided into the "right maemigoro" and "left maemigoro".
  • Miyatsukuchi (身八つ口): the opening under the sleeve on a woman's kimono.
  • Okumi (): the overlapping front panel.
  • Sode (): the entire sleeve.
  • Sodeguchi (袖口): the wrist opening of the sleeve.
  • Sodetsuke (袖付): the kimono armhole.
  • Susomawashi (裾回し): lower lining.
  • Tamoto (): the sleeve pouch of a kimono.
  • Tomoeri (共衿): lit., "over-collar" — the collar cover sewn on top of the uraeri.
  • Uraeri (裏襟): lit., "neckband lining" — the inner collar.
  • Ushiromigoro (後身頃): lit., "back body" — the back panels. The back panels consist of the "right ushiromigoro" and "left ushiromigoro".

Evolution of kimono constructionEdit

 
Comparison between a kosode (left) and a modern-day kimono (right).
 
Ways of wearing kosode. Top left: as a belted and wrapped robe; top right: belted and off the shoulders in the koshimaki style; bottom left: as an unbelted outer robe kosode in the uchikake style; bottom right: over the head in the katsugi style.

Though the basic shape of the kimono has not changed in centuries, proportions have, historically, varied in different eras of Japanese history. Beginning in the later Heian period, the hitoe - an unlined robe worn as underwear - became the predominant outerwear garment for both men and women, known as the kosode (lit. "small sleeve"). Court-appropriate dress continued to resemble the previous eras.

By the beginning of the Kamakura period, the kosode was an ankle-length garment for both men and women, and had small, rounded sleeves that were sewn to the body of the garment. The obi was a relatively thin belt tied somewhat low on the waist, usually in a plain bow, and was known as a hoso-obi.[34] During this time period, the fashion of wearing a kosode draped around the shoulders, over the head, or as the outermost garment stripped off the shoulders and held in place by the obi, led to the rise of the uchikake - a heavily decorated over-kimono, stemming from the verb "uchikake-ru" (lit., "to drape upon"), worn unbelted over the top of the kosode - becoming popular as formal dress for the upper classes.[1]: 39 

In the following centuries, the kosode mostly retained its small, narrow and round-sleeved nature, with the length of women's sleeves gradually increasing over time and eventually becoming mostly detached from the body of the garment below the shoulders. The collar on both men's and women's kosode retained its relatively long and wide proportions, and the okumi front panel kept its long, shallow angle towards the hem. During the Edo period, the kosode had developed roughly modern kimono proportions, though variety existed until roughly the mid- to later years of the era.[35] Men's sleeves continued to be sewn shut to the body of the kimono down most of their length, with no more than a few inches unattached at the bottom, unlike the women's style of very deep sleeves mostly detached from the body of the kimono. Men's sleeves are less deep than women's kimono sleeves so that they don't get tied under the narrow obi around the hips, whereas on a woman's kimono, the long, unattached bottom of the sleeve can hang over the wider obi without getting in the way.[36] Sleeves for both men and women grew in proportion to be of roughly equal width to the body panels, and the collar for both men's and women's kimono became shorter and narrower.

In the present day, both men's and women's kimono retain some historical features - for instance, women's kimono trailed along the floor throughout certain eras, and when the wearer went outside, the excess length would be tucked and tied underneath the obi in a hip fold known as the ohasori. The ohasori is now used for fine length adjustments,[37] and takes up 7–10 inches (18–25 cm) of excess length.[36] A handsewn tuck across the back under the obi is used for coarse adjustments, and made deliberately weak so that the stitches will tear before the cloth does under tension.[37] Men's kimono, on the other hand, are cut to length and tied with a narrow belt at the hips, with no overfold.[38]

Formal women's kimono also retain the wider collar of previous eras (made from a full tanmono-width instead of a half width), though it is always folded in half lengthwise before wearing - a style known as hiro-eri (lit. "wide collar", as opposed to bachi-eri, a normal width collar).[39]

Though length of kimono, collar style and the way the sleeves are sewn on varies for susohiki kimono, in all other types of women's kimono, the construction generally does not change; the collar is set back slightly into the nape of the neck, the sleeves are only attached at the shoulder, not all the way down the sleeve length, and the kimono's length from shoulder to hem should generally equal the entire height of the woman wearing it, to allow for the ohashori hip fold.

Sleeve lengthEdit

The sleeve length (perpendicular to the shoulders, what would generally be called the width in a Western garment) varies in kimono.

Sleeve lengths
Type Sleeve length Use
Men's sleeves Men's sleeves are not visual markers of youth. They are attached to the body of the kimono all the way down, as they do not have to accommodate the wider female obi.
Tomesode, ordinary women's sleeves 49 cm (19 in), or hip-length[40] Usual women's length; this was longer pre-WWII, but was shortened due to rationing.[32][40] This is the length almost invariably used for yukata, and used by definition for tomesode kimono, though it can also be used for other kimono types.
Furisode Furisode (振袖, lit., "swinging sleeve") kimono are worn by young, typically unmarried, woman. While yukata and tomesode almost always have standard-length sleeves, informal kimono with furisode-length sleeves are sometimes seen. Upon marriage, women used to cut or hem their sleeves shorter, or unpick and swap the sleeves for a shorter pair.[37] Furisode were traditionally worn by all children, with no gender distinctions in pattern or cut, but are now worn by girls.[31]
Ko-furisode (also called nisyakusode)[41] ("short") 76–86 cm (30–34 in)[41] Divided into kuro-furisode and iro-furisode; these are like the parallel types of tomesode, but longer sleeves. Ko-furisode with a komon-style pattern is casual wear. Ko-furisode are also worn with hakama. Modernly rare; sometimes worn for graduations.[42] Most ko-furisode are vintage kimono, as in the modern day furisode are not worn often enough to warrant buying a more casual form of the dress.[43]
Tyu-furisode[41] or chu-furisode[42] ("mid-size") 86–115 cm (34–45 in), or shoulder to calf;[41] usually about 100 cm (39 in)[42] Most formal occasions; have been growing longer, due to growing people and the near-elimination of ō-furisode,[42] and may be considered ō-furisode.[43] Worn to seijin shiki (Coming of Age Day) or weddings, either by the bride herself or an unmarried younger female relative.
Ō-furisode[41] or hon-furisode ("O" is an honorific prefix) 114–115 cm (45–45 in), as high as 125 cm (49 in), or shoulder to ankle[41][42] Generally only worn by brides, dancers, and singers. Padded hem so it can trail.[42]

CostEdit

 
A modern second-hand kimono shop

Both men's and women's brand-new kimono can range in expense, from the relatively cheap nature of second-hand garments, to high-end artisan pieces costing as much as US$50,000[needs update][44] (not allowing for the cost of accessories).

The high expense of some hand-crafted brand-new kimono reflects the traditional kimono making industry, where the most skilled artisans practice specific, expensive and time-consuming techniques, known to and mastered only by a few. These techniques, such as hand-plied bashofu fabrics and hand-tied kanoko shibori dotwork dyeing, may take over a year to finish. Kimono artisans may be made Living National Treasures in recognition of their work, with the pieces they produce being considered culturally important.

Even kimono that have not been hand-crafted will constitute a relatively high expense when bought new, as even for one outfit, a number of accessories of the right formality and appearance must be bought. Not all brand-new kimono originate from artisans, and mass-production of kimono - mainly of casual or semi-formal kimono - does exist, with mass-produced pieces being mostly cheaper than those purchased through a gofukuya (kimono shop, see below).

Though artisan-made kimono are some of the most accomplished works of textile art on the market, many pieces are not bought solely for appreciation of the craft. Unwritten social obligations to wear kimono to certain events - weddings, funerals - often leads consumers to purchase artisan pieces for reasons other than personal choice, fashion sense or love of kimono:

[Third-generation yūzen dyer Jotaro Saito] believes we are in a strange age where people who know nothing about kimono are the ones who spend a lot of money on a genuine handcrafted kimono for a wedding that is worn once by someone who suffers wearing it, and then is never used again.[45][45]: 134 

The high cost of most brand-new kimono reflects in part the pricing techniques within the industry. Most brand-new kimono are purchased through gofukuya, where kimono are sold as fabric rolls only, the price of which is often left to the shop's discretion. The shop will charge a fee separate to the cost of the fabric for it to be sewn to the customer's measurements, and fees for washing the fabric or weatherproofing it may be added as another separate cost. If the customer is unfamiliar with wearing kimono, they may hire a service to help dress them; the end cost of a new kimono, therefore, remains uncertain until the kimono itself has been finished and worn.[18]

Gofukuya are also regarded as notorious for sales practices seen as unscrupulous and pressuring:

Many [Japanese kimono consumers] feared a tactic known as kakoikomi: being surrounded by staff and essentially pressured into purchasing an expensive kimono...Shops are also renowned for lying about the origins of their products and who made them...[My kimono dressing (kitsuke) teacher] gave me careful instructions before we entered the [gofukuya]: 'do not touch anything. And even if you don't buy a kimono today, you have to buy something, no matter how small it is.'[18]: 115-117 

In contrast, kimono bought by hobbyists are likely to be less expensive, purchased from second-hand stores with no such sales practices or obligation to buy. Hobbyists may also buy cheaper synthetic kimono (marketed as 'washable') brand-new. Some enthusiasts also make their own kimono; this may be due to difficulty finding kimono of the right size, or simply for personal choice and fashion.

Second-hand items are seen as highly affordable; costs can be as little as ¥100 (about US$0.90)[citation needed] at thrift stores within Japan, and certain historic kimono production areas around the country - such as the Nishijin district of Kyoto - are well known for their second-hand kimono markets. Kimono themselves do not go out of fashion, making even vintage or antique pieces viable for wear, depending on condition.[46]

However, even second-hand women's obi are likely to remain somewhat pricey; a used, well-kept and high-quality second-hand obi can cost upwards of US$300,[citation needed] as they are often intricately woven, or decorated with embroidery, goldwork and may be hand-painted. Men's obi, in contrast, retail much cheaper, as they are narrower, shorter, and have either very little or no decoration, though high-end men's obi can still retail at a high cost equal to that of a high-end women's obi.

Types of kimonoEdit

FormalityEdit

 
A hinata kamon dyed onto a kimono.
 
A dyed 'shadow' (kage) kamon on the centre-back seam of a haori

Kimono range in variation from extremely formal to very casual. The formality is determined mostly by pattern placement, decoration style, fabric choice and colour, and by the accessories and obi worn with the kimono.

The formality levels of different types of kimono are a relatively modern invention, having been developed between late Meiji- to post-war Japan, following the abolition of Edo-period sumptuary clothing laws in 1868.[47] These laws changed constantly, as did the strictness with which they were enforced, and were designed to keep the nouveau riche merchant classes from dressing above their station, and appearing better-dressed than monetarily-poor but status-rich samurai class. Colours were restricted; for instance, indigo-dyed clothing was allowed for all classes, and was commonly seen in hand-dyed cotton, linen or hemp kasuri fabrics, but other dyes, such as reds and purples, were forbidden to those below a certain class. Sometimes, for some classes, designs were restricted to below the belt, to the bottoms of the sleeves (for furisode) or to along the hem (suso-moyo); sometimes they were banned altogether,[37] and were transferred to the collar of the underkimono,[48] or the inside of the hem, where only the faintest glimpse would be intermittently visible. This type of subtle ostentation became an aesthetic known as iki, and outlasted the sumptuary laws.[37] Modern-day rules of formality, however, still echo clothing distinctions typically employed by the uppermost samurai classes.[37]

Aspects of men's kimono still follow this extreme of iki. Bright, elaborate decoration is used on the lining of the haori (jacket), and on men's juban (underkimono), which is not worn as an outer layer outside the home, and so only shows at the neck and inside the sleeves. Women's juban were once bright and boldly-patterned (and were often kimono too damaged to use as an outer layer, repurposed), but are now typically muted pastel shades.[36][49][32] The outside of men's garments tended towards subtle patterns and colours even after the sumptuary laws lifted, with blues and blacks predominating, but designers later came to use browns, greens, purples, and other colours in increasingly bold patterns.[38]

 
Couple being married in formal traditional dress

Glossy silk fabrics such as habutai are more formal; chirimen, a type of crêpe, is less formal, and tsumugi, a slubbed silk, even less so.[50] Some fabrics are only worn at certain times of year; ro, for instance, is a plain-weave fabric with leno weave stripes only worn in high summer (July and August), but is used for all types of kimono and for other garments.[48][36] Lined and even quilted kimono are worn in cold weather. Some fabrics - such as crêpe and rinzū - are never seen in certain varieties of kimono,[which?] and some fabrics such as shusu (heavy satin) silk are barely ever seen in modern kimono or obi altogether, having been more popular in previous eras than in the present-day.

Formality is also determined by the number and type of mon or kamon (crests). Five crests (itsutsu mon) are the most formal, three crests (mitsu mon) are mid-formality, and one crest (hitotsu mon) is the least formal, used for occasions such as tea ceremony. Kimono (and other garments, like hakama) with mon are called montsuki ("mon-carrying"). The type of crest adds formality as well. A "full sun" (hinata) crest, where the design is outlined and filled in with white, is the most formal type. A "mid-shadow" (nakakage) crest is mid-formality, with only the outline of the crest visible in white. A "shadow" (kage) crest is the least formal, with the outline of the crest relatively faint. Shadow crests may be embroidered onto the kimono, and full-embroidery crests, called nui mon, are also seen.[51]

Formality can also be determined by the type and colour of accessories. For women, this may be the weave of obijime and the style of obiage.[citation needed] For men, adding a haori (a traditional jacket) makes an outfit more formal, and adding both haori and hakama (traditional trousers) is more formal still. The material, colour, and pattern of these overgarments also varies in formality.[50] Longer haori are also more formal.

Sleeve length increases with formality for furisode - young women's and girl's dress - but young women are not limited to wearing only furisode, and outside of formal occasions that warrant it, can wear all other types of women's kimono such as irotomesode and short-sleeved komon. Older people generally wear more subtle patterns, and younger people brighter, bolder ones.

General types of kimonoEdit

YukataEdit

 
A woman and a young boy wearing wearing yukata decorated with spider chrysanthemums and dragonflies respectively

Yukata (浴衣) are casual cotton summer kimono. Yukata were originally very simple indigo and white cotton kimono, little more than a bathrobe worn either within the house, or for a short walk locally; yukata were also worn by guests at inns, with the design of the yukata displaying the inn a person was staying at. From roughly the mid-1980s onwards, they began to be produced in a wider variety of colours and designs, responding to demand for a more casual kimono that could be worn to a summer festival, and have since become more formal than their previous status as bathrobes, with high-end, less colourful yukata sometimes standing in place of komon.

In the present day, many yukata are brightly coloured, featuring large motifs from a variety of different seasons. They are worn with hanhaba obi (half-width obi) or heko obi (a soft, sash-like obi), and are often accessorised with colourful hair accessories. Yukata are always unlined, and it is possible to wear a casual nagoya obi with a high-end, more subdued yukata, often with a juban underneath.

A yukata is traditionally worn as a single layer or over a hadajuban, an under-kimono with small or no sleeves and no collar, technically a type of kimono underwear considered optional; yukata may also be worn over the top of a t-shirt and shorts. This distinguishes yukata from a more-formal komon kimono, where a nagajuban (also simply referred to as a juban) is worn underneath, showing a second layer of collar at the neckline. However, some modern yukata are worn with collared cotton juban featuring a collar of linen, cotton or ro, for occasions such as informal eating-out.[36][32]

KomonEdit

 
A komon with a small, repeating floral pattern

Komon (小紋) (lit., "small pattern", though the patterns may in fact be large) are informal kimono. They were the type most often used for everyday wear in pre-war Japan, though some komon are considered a shade more formal than others. They mostly have no kamon (crests), and the sleeves are fairly short. They are made with a repeating designs, though the repeat length may be quite long. Designs can be made with any method; woven patterns, prints, stencilled patterns in alternating orientations, freehand painting (yūzen) or tie-dye patterns (shibori). Traditionally the direction of the fabric was alternated in adjacent panels (necessary due to the lack of shoulder seam), so patterns were generally reversible. If the pattern is the same way up on each panel, the komon is more formal, approaching tsukesage-level formality.[citation needed]

Woven geometric patterns (such as stripes) have no season, but others show images representing the season in general. Woven non-geometric patterns (kasuri) are also common. Small, dense patterns are often used; this is practical, as fine-scale patterns hides stains.

Komon are made with informal materials such as tsumugi (slubbed silk), cotton, linen, ramie, and hemp. In the modern day, synthetic blends and synthetics are also used; rayon (jinken) and polyester are common.

Formerly, komon were the most common formality level of kimono. Now that kimono are not the standard informal wear, komon are not worn as often as formal kimono, with the exception of yukata, the least-formal type of kimono. Edo komon are the most formal type of komon; they may have crests, and the pattern is so fine that from a distance they look like the somewhat more formal iromuji.

Edo komonEdit

 
This edo komon pattern is stencil-dyed onto the fabric.

Edo komon (江戸小紋) are a type of komon characterised by an extremely small repeating pattern, usually done in white on a coloured background. The edo komon dyeing technique is sometimes said to originate in the late Heian Period (circa mid-12th century), with a motif called "kozakura", which shows tiny stylised cherry blossoms on a background of white dots. In the Edo period (1603-1867), the samurai classes used them for kamishimo formal wear, with specific patterns becoming associated with specific families. Towards the end of the Edo period, in the early 1800s, commoners began to wear them.[52] Edo komon are of a similar formality to iromuji, and edo komon with one kamon can be worn as low-formality visiting wear; because of this, they are always made of silk, unlike regular komon.

IromujiEdit

 
Iromuji

Iromuji (色無地, lit., "solid colour") are monochromatic, undecorated kimono mainly worn to tea ceremonies. Despite being monochromatic, iromuji may feature a woven design; iromuji suitable for autumn are often made of rinzu damask silk. Iromuji are typically worn for tea ceremony, as the monochrome appearance is considered to be unobtrusive to the ceremony itself. Some edo komon with incredibly fine patterns are also considered suitable for tea ceremony, as from a distance they are visually similar to iromuji. Iromuji may occasionally have one kamon, though likely no more than this, and are always made of silk. Shibori accessories such as obiage are never worn with iromuji if the purpose of wear is a tea ceremony; instead, flat and untextured silks are chosen for accessories.

TsukesageEdit

 
Tsukesage

Tsukesage (付け下げ) are lower-ranking formalwear, and are a step below hōmongi, though the two sometimes appear similar or indistinguishable. The motifs on a tsukesage are placed similarly to those of a hōmongi - across the back-right shoulder and back-right sleeve, the front-left shoulder and the front-left sleeve, and across the hem, higher at the left than the right - but, unlike hōmongi, do not typically cross over the seams of each kimono panel, though some confusingly do. In older examples, the motifs may instead be placed symmetrically along the hem, with the skirt patterns mirrored down the centre-back seam.[37]

Similarities between tsukesage and hōmongi often lead to confusion, with some tsukesage indistinguishable from hōmongi; often, tsukesage are only distinguishable from hōmongi by the size of the motifs used, with smaller, less fluid motifs generally considered to be tsukesage, and larger, more fluid motifs considered to be hōmongi.[53]

Tsukesage can have between one and three kamon, and can be worn to parties, but not ceremonies or highly formal events.

HōmongiEdit

 
Hōmongi

Hōmongi (訪問着, lit., "visiting wear") have the same pattern placement as a tsukesage, but the patterns generally match across seams. They are always made of silk, and are considered more formal than the tsukesage.

Hōmongi are first roughly sewn up, and the design is sketched onto the fabric, before the garment is taken apart to be dyed again. The hōmongi's close relative, the tsukesage, has its patterns dyed on the bolt before sewing up. This method of production can usually distinguish the two, as the motifs on a hōmongi are likely to cross fluidly over seams in a way a tsukesage generally will not.[53] However, the two can prove near-indistinguishable at times.

Hōmongi may be worn by both married and unmarried women; often friends of the bride will wear hōmongi to weddings (except relatives) and receptions. They may also be worn to formal parties.

Irotomesode and iro-montsukiEdit

 
An irotomesode dating to the 1920s displaying a mirrored skirt pattern

Irotomesode (色留袖, lit., "colour short-sleeve") kimono with a design along the hem and a coloured background, making them slightly lower-ranking in formality than kurotomesode, which have roughly the same pattern placement on a black background. Irotomesode, though worn to formal events, may be chosen when a kurotomesode would make the wearer appear to be overdressed for the situation. The pattern placement for irotomesode is roughly identical to kurotomesode, though patterns seen along the fuki and okumi may drift slightly into the back hem itself. Irotomesode with five kamon are of the same formality as any kurotomesode. Irotomesode may be made of figured silk such as rinzū.

Because formalwear for men requires hakama,[50] men typically do not wear the formal types of kimono that have elaborate patterns on the hem, as these would be hidden.[54] Men wear iro-montsuki (lit., "colour mon-decorated"), which (apart from the cut of the sleeve) appear the same as iro-tomesode from the waist up, and thus cannot be distinguished in pattern when worn under the hakama.[50]

Kurotomesode and kuro-montsukiEdit

 
A pre-WWII kurotomesode with three crests and longer sleeves.

Kurotomesode (黒留袖, lit., "black short-sleeve") kimono are formal kimono with a black background and a design along the hem, worn to formal events such as weddings and wedding parties. The design is only present along the hem; the further up the body this design reaches, the younger the wearer is considered to be, though for a very young woman an irotomesode may be chosen instead, kurotomesode being considered somewhat more mature. The design is either symmetrically placed on the fuki and okumi portions of the kimono, or asymmetrically placed along the entirety of the hem, with the design being larger and higher-placed at the left side than the right. Vintage kimono are more likely to have the former pattern placement than the latter, though this is not a hard rule.

Kurotomesode are always made of silk, and may have a hiyoku - a false lining layer - attached, occasionally with a slightly padded hem. A kurotomesode usually has between 3 and 5 crests; a kurotomesode of any number of crests outranks an irotomesode with less than five. Kurotomesode, though formalwear, are not allowed at the royal court, as black is the colour of mourning, despite the colour designs decorating the kimono itself;[citation needed] outside of the royal court, this distinction for kurotomesode does not exist. Kurotomesode are never made of flashy silks such as rinzū, but are instead likely to be a matte fabric with little texture.

Men wear kuro-montsuki ("black mon-decorated") which (apart from the cut of the sleeve) looks exactly the same from the waist up, and thus cannot be distinguished in pattern when worn under the hakama required for men's formal dress.[50]

Occasion-specific typesEdit

MofukuEdit

Mofuku (喪服) are a category of kimono and kimono accessories suitable for mourning. Mofuku kimono, obi and accessories for both men and women are characterised by their plain, solid black appearance. Mofuku kimono are plain black silk with five kamon, worn with white undergarments and white tabi. Men wear a kimono of the same kind, with a subdued obi and a black-and-white or black-and-grey striped hakama, worn with black or white zōri.

A completely black mourning ensemble for women - a plain black obi, black obijime and black obiage - is usually reserved for those closest to the deceased. Those further away will wear kimono in dark and subdued colours, rather than a plain black kimono with a reduced number of crests. In time periods when kimono were worn more often, those closest to the deceased would slowly begin dressing in coloured kimono over a period of weeks after the death, with the obijime being the last thing to be changed over to colour.[1]

UchikakeEdit

 
An uchikake (formal over-kimono) depicting cranes, from the Khalili Collection of Kimono

Uchikake (打ち掛け) are highly formal kimono worn only in bridalwear or on stage. The name 'uchikake' comes from the Japanese verb uchikake-ru, "to drape upon", originating in roughly the 16th century from a fashion of the ruling classes of the time to wear kimono (then called kosode, lit. "small sleeve") unbelted over the shoulders of one's other garments;[1]: 34  the uchikake progressed into being an over-kimono worn by samurai women before being adopted some time in the 20th century as bridalwear.

Uchikake are worn in the same manner in the present day, though unlike their 16th century counterparts, could not double as a regular kimono due to their typically heavily decorated, highly formal and often heavily padded nature. Uchikake are designed to trail along the floor as a sort of coat. Bridal uchikake are typically red or white, and often decorated heavily with auspicious motifs. Because they are not designed to be worn with an obi, the designs cover the entirety of the back.

ShiromukuEdit

 
A shiromuku with tsunokakushi (wedding headpiece)

Shiromuku (白無垢, lit., "white pure-innocence") are the pure-white wedding kimono worn by brides for a traditional Japanese Shinto wedding ceremony. Comparable to an uchikake and sometimes described as a white uchikake, the shiromuku is worn for the part of the wedding ceremony, symbolising the purity of the bride coming into the marriage. The bride may later change into a red uchikake after the ceremony to symbolise good luck.

A shiromuku will form part of a bridal ensemble with matching or coordinating accessories, such as a bridal katsura (bridal wig), a set of matching kanzashi (usually mock-tortoiseshell), and a sensu fan tucked into the kimono. Due to the expensive nature of traditional bridal clothing, few are likely to buy brand-new shiromuku; it is not unusual to rent kimono for special occasions, and Shinto shrines are known to keep and rent out shiromuku for traditional weddings. Those who do possess shiromuku already are likely to have inherited them from close family members.

Susohiki/HikizuriEdit

 
A geisha's formal susohiki kimono, displaying a kurotomesode-type pattern on the kimono's elongated skirt

Susohiki (lit. "trailing skirt") (also known as hikizuri) kimono are extremely long kimono worn by geisha, maiko, actors in kabuki and people performing traditional Japanese dance. A susohiki can be up to 230 cm (91 in) long, and are generally no shorter than 200 cm (79 in) from shoulder to hem; this is to allow the kimono to trail along the floor.

Susohiki, apart from their extreme length, are also sewn differently to normal kimono due to the way they are worn.[55] The collar on a susohiki is sewn further and deeper back into the nape of the neck, so that it can be pulled down much lower without causing the front of the kimono to ride up. The sleeves are set unevenly onto the body, shorter at the back than at the front, so that the underarm does not show when the collar is pulled down.

Susohiki are also tied differently when they are put on - whereas regular kimono are tied with a visible ohashori, and the side seams are kept straight, susohiki are pulled up somewhat diagonally, to emphasise the hips and ensure the kimono trails nicely on the floor. A small ohashori is tied, larger at the back than the front, but it wrapped against the body with a momi (lit. "red silk") wrap, which is then covered by the obi, rendering the ohashori invisible.[a]

Related garments and accessoriesEdit

Though the kimono is the national dress of Japan, it has never been the sole item of clothing worn throughout Japan; even before the introduction of Western dress to Japan, many different styles of dress were worn, such as the attus of the Ainu people and the ryusou of the Ryukyuan people. Though similar to the kimono, these garments are distinguishable by their separate cultural heritage, and are not considered to be simply 'variations' of kimono such as the clothing worn by the working class is considered to be.

Some related garments still worn today were the contemporary clothing of previous time periods, and have survived on in an official and/or ceremonial capacity, worn only on certain occasions by certain people.

There are a number of accessories that can be worn with the kimono, and these vary by occasion and use. Some are ceremonial, or worn only for special occasions, whereas others are part of dressing in kimono and are used in a more practical sense.

Both geisha and maiko wear variations on common accessories that are not found in everyday dress. As an extension of this, many practitioners of Japanese traditional dance wear similar kimono and accessories to geisha and maiko.

For certain traditional holidays and occasions some specific types of kimono accessories are worn. For instance, okobo, also known as pokkuri, are worn by girls for shichi-go-san, alongside brightly coloured furisode. Okobo are also worn by young women on seijin no hi (Coming of Age Day).

LayeringEdit

Pre-WW2, kimono were commonly worn layered, with three being the standard number of layers worn over the top of undergarments. The layered kimono underneath were known as dōnuki, and were often a patchwork of older or unwearable kimono taken apart for their fabric.

In modern Japan, a layer is worn next to the skin to protect the more expensive outer kimono (except, sometimes, with yukata). This is called a hadagi or hadajuban, and is made of something more washable than silk, such as cotton, hemp, linen or some synthetics. A nagajuban (lit. "long juban") generally has an exchangeable collar, which is visible at the neckline, and is worn directly under the kimono.[36]

In modern-day Japan, layered kimono are only seen on the stage, whether for classical dances or in kabuki. A false second layer called a hiyoku (比翼, "second wing") may be attached instead of an entirely separate kimono to achieve this look; it is a type of floating lining, sewn to the kimono only along the centre back and underneath the collar. False collars may also be sewn as edging onto the underside of a real collar.

This effect allows it to show at the collar and the hem, and in some kabuki performances such as Fuji Musume, the kimono is worn with the okumi flipped back slightly underneath the obi to expose the design on the hiyoku. The hiyoku can also be seen on some bridal kimono.

CareEdit

 
How to fold a kimono

In the past, a kimono would often be entirely taken apart for washing, and then re-sewn for wearing.[22] 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. Kimono 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.

NotesEdit

  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, showing how it is tied into the obi so as to be not visible.[56]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Dalby, Liza (1993). Kimono: Fashioning Culture (1st ed.). Seattle: University of Washington Press. ISBN 9780099428992.
  2. ^ Spacey, John. "5 Embarrassing Kimono Mistakes". japan-talk.com. Japan Talk. Retrieved 27 January 2020.
  3. ^ "About the size of tanmono (a roll of kimono cloth)". hirotatsumugi.jp. Hirota Tsumugi. Archived from the original on 4 July 2020. Retrieved 27 January 2020.
  4. ^ Sharnoff, Lora (1993). Grand Sumo: The Living Sport and Tradition. Weatherhill. ISBN 0-8348-0283-X.
  5. ^ Liddell, Jill (1989). The Story of the Kimono. E.P. Dutton. p. 28. ISBN 978-0525245742.
  6. ^ Elizabeth LaCouture, Journal of Design History, Vol. 30, Issue 3, 1 September 2017, Pages 300–314.
  7. ^ Wada, Yoshiko Iwamoto; Rice, Mary Kellogg; Barton, Jane (2011). Shibori: The Inventive Art of Japanese Shaped Resist Dyeing (3rd ed.). New York: Kodansha USA, Inc. pp. 11–13. ISBN 978-1-56836-396-7.
  8. ^ Textile Museum (Washington, D.C.) (1996). The kimono inspiration : art and art-to-wear in America. Rebecca A. T. Stevens, Yoshiko Iwamoto Wada, Textile Museum (1st ed.). Washington, D.C.: Pomegranate. p. 132. ISBN 0-87654-897-4. OCLC 33947597.
  9. ^ a b Stevens, Rebecca A. T.; Wada, Yoshiko Iwamoto (1996). The kimono inspiration: art and art-to-wear in America (first ed.). Washington DC, San Francisco: The Textile Museum, Pomegranate Artbooks. ISBN 0-87654-897-4. OCLC 33947597.
  10. ^ a b Rogers, Krista (14 December 2015). "Dress like an aristocrat from the Nara period at new costume rental shop in Nara【Photos】". SoraNews24 -Japan News-. Retrieved 16 October 2021.
  11. ^ Rybalko, Svitlana (June 2012). "JAPANESE TRADITIONAL RAIMENT IN THE CONTEXT OF EMERGENT CULTURAL PARADIGMS". Cogito (2066-7094, Humanities Source, EBSCO (host). 4 (2): 112–123. Retrieved 29 October 2016.
  12. ^ 平安時代の貴族の服装 NHK for school
  13. ^ Badgley, Joshua L. "Women's Garments". Sengoku Daimyo.
  14. ^ a b Badgley, Joshua L. "Women's Outfits". Sengoku Daimyo.
  15. ^ Fassbender, Bardo; Peters, Anne; Peter, Simone; Högger, Daniel (2012). The Oxford Handbook of the History of International Law. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 477. ISBN 978-0198725220.
  16. ^ Ishimura Hayao et al. Robes of Elegance: Japanese Kimonos of the 16th-20th Centuries. North Carolina Museum of Art (1988), p. 1. ISBN 0-88259-955-0.
  17. ^ 町人のきもの 1 寛文~江戸中期までの着物 Mami Baba. Sen'i gakkaishi vol.64
  18. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an Valk, Julie (2018). "Survival or Success? The Kimono Retail Industry in Contemporary Japan" (D.Phil thesis). University of Oxford. Retrieved 24 January 2020.
  19. ^ 更新日:2010年11月25日. "戦時衣生活簡素化実施要綱". Ndl.go.jp. Archived from the original on 16 June 2008. Retrieved 22 July 2012.
  20. ^ a b Dees, Jan (2009). Taisho Kimono: Speaking of Past and Present (1st ed.). Milano, Italy: Skira Editore S.p.A. ISBN 978-88-572-0011-8.
  21. ^ Ho, Vivian (1 July 2019). "#KimOhNo: Kim Kardashian West renames Kimono brand amid outcry". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2 July 2019.
  22. ^ a b Dalby, Liza (2000). Geisha (3rd ed.). London: Vintage Random House. ISBN 978-0099286387.
  23. ^ Miyoshi, Yurika. "季節の着物". kimono5.jp (in Japanese). スリーネクスト (株). Archived from the original on 12 August 2013. Retrieved 2 July 2020.
  24. ^ "Kimono Seasonal Motifs, Colors and Flowers: Finished!". thekimonolady.blogspot.com. 30 September 2013. Archived from the original on 2 July 2020. Retrieved 2 July 2020.
  25. ^ Daijisen Dictionary. Shogakukan. "呉服 Gofuku, Kure-hatori" 1. A general term for kimono textiles, a bolt of fabric 2. The name of silk fabrics as opposed to Futomono 3. A twill woven with the method from the country of Go in ancient China, Kurehatori (literally translates as a weave of Kure)
  26. ^ Tanaka, Atsuko (2012). きもの自分流入門 (in Japanese). Tokyo: Shogakukan. p. 82. ISBN 9784093108041.
  27. ^ Joseph, Lisa A. "Kosode: a Japanese garment for the SCA period". www.wodefordhall.com. Retrieved 10 June 2021.
  28. ^ Wada, Yoshiko (1 January 2004). Boro no Bi : Beauty in Humility—Repaired Cotton Rags of Old Japan. Textile Society of America Symposium Proceedings.
  29. ^ a b Victoria and Albert Museum. Department of Textiles; Smith, A. D. Howell; Koop, Albert J. (Albert James) (1919–1920). Guide to the Japanese textiles: Costume. 2. Translated by Inada, Hogitaro. Harold B. Lee Library. London : Printed under the authority of H. M. Stationery Office. (translator did not translate the full book text, but from the acknowledgements of vol 1 it sounds as if some of his translations might be incorporated into the work. Volume 1 came out in 1919, volume 2 in 1920. Note the work is in the public domain, therefore the fulltext is not copyright)
  30. ^ "男のきもの大全". Kimono-taizen.com. 22 February 1999. Retrieved 13 August 2012.
  31. ^ a b Sawada, Kazuto (9 May 2014). "Furisode and teenage boys". Bimonthly Magazine REKIHAKU. National Museum of Japanese History. No.137 A Witness to History.
  32. ^ a b c d e "Komon kimono". Kimono mochi: kimono collection. [for some reason the author used this abstract as the HTML title, so I've preserved it in the citation]The lowly komon kimono is the workhorse of the kimono wardrobe, worn for trips to town, to friends houses, in any situation which is outside of the home but informal. Despite their name, which means 'small design', komon can have large or small imagery, and the repeat can be staggered widely. painted, closely stencilled, woven, Printed, striped, spotted, shibori, silk, jinken, modern polyester--if it's a repetitive design, short-sleeved, and without kamon, then it's a komon.
  33. ^ "Kimono Seasonal Motifs, Flowers, and Colors: May". thekimonolady.blogspot.com. 13 April 2013. Archived from the original on 3 July 2020. Retrieved 3 July 2020.
  34. ^ "Costume History in Japan - The Kamakura Period". iz2.or.jp. The Costume Museum. Retrieved 13 June 2020.
  35. ^ Watson, William, ed. (1981). The Great Japan Exhibition: Art of the Edo Period 1600-1868. London: Royal Academy of Arts. pp. 222–229. [A number of visual examples of Edo-period kosode, with a variety of sleeve lengths and proportions showing the variation in style and shape throughout the era.]
  36. ^ a b c d e f g "Juban". Kimonomochi: kimono collection. [for some reason the author used this abstract as the HTML title, so I've preserved it in the citation] Juban covers a wide range of undergarments which are worn between the silk kimono and the skin, to protect the delicate, expensive and often unwashable kimono from sweat and skin oils. Juban worn next to the skin are generally described as hadagi or hadajuban and need to be washable, so are cotton, hemp, linen or, more recently, synthetic fibers. Nagajuban are the outer layer of kimono underwear, and can be silk or synthetic, lined (awase) or unlined (hitoe). In summer, one can lessen the layers or just wear a han-juban (literally half-juban) with no susoyoke (skirt). The only part of a juban which is seen after dressing is the collar, which is removable so that a clean matching collar can be replaced at short notice. collars (eri) are a separate area, with many types, fabrics and levels of intracacy.
  37. ^ a b c d e f g h "Furisode". Kimono Mochi: private kimono collection photographs and text. Retrieved 31 July 2021.
  38. ^ a b "Mens Kimono From Japan". kimonostore. Ohio Kimono.
  39. ^ Coline, Youandi (26 October 2018). "Women's vs Men's kimono". chayatsujikimono.wordpress.com. Chayatsuji Kimono. Retrieved 13 June 2020.
  40. ^ a b "Furisode vs. Tomesode The Kimono Lady". The Kimono Lady. 24 January 2010.
  41. ^ a b c d e f "Introduction Of Furisode, With Obi And Kimono Accessories | かふぇきもの Cafekimono". cafe-kimono.com. 13 February 2020.
  42. ^ a b c d e f "Furisode kimono in Japan". Kyoto Kimono Rental Wargo. 16 June 2016.
  43. ^ a b "Main Kimono Types (general info)". Tea Ceremony Japan Experiences MAIKOYA.
  44. ^ Hindell, Juliet (22 May 1999). "Saving the kimono". BBC News. BBC News World. Retrieved 8 January 2020.
  45. ^ a b Cliffe, Sheila (23 March 2017). The Social Life of Kimono (1st ed.). New York: Bloomsbury Academic. ISBN 978-1-4725-8553-0.
  46. ^ Tsuruoka, Hiroyuki. "The unspoiled market found by the lost office workers". Japan Business Press (in Japanese). Retrieved 14 May 2019.
  47. ^ Fukatsu-Fukuoka, Yuko (2004). "The Evolution of yūzen-dyeing Techniques and Designs after the Meiji Restoration". Textile Society of America Symposium Proceedings (475). University of Nebraska - Lincoln. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  48. ^ a b c "Tomosode". Kimonomochi: kimono collection. [for some reason the author used this abstract as the HTML title, so I've preserved it in the citation] On this page are some of my tomesode. Most are black-background kuro-tomesode, but there is the odd iro-tomesode (coloured tomesode) too. In the list of formality, tomesode rank to the top, becoming more formal the higher the number of kamon (small family emblems to the center back, each sleeve back, and each chest side to the front). Iro-tomesode may be worn by both married and unmarried women, though kuro-tomesode are exclusively worn by married women. in days past, the closer the design was to the hemline and the more muted the colours, the older the wearer (Wearing a tomesode that was too bright or too effusive in design was the equivalent of 'mutton dressed as lamb', and very definitely not iki!). Thus it was possible to read a lot of information from a wearer's kimono (age, family, status, children) without ever having spoken to them, saving faux-pas and so all-important face!
  49. ^ "Men's Juban For Kimono". kimonostore. Ohio Kimono.
  50. ^ a b c d e Mimi. "Male article: Type and difference of kimono". Manga de Japan. Manga Designers Lab. Retrieved 2 August 2021.
  51. ^ "Mon and Kamon". wafuku.co.uk. Wafuku.co.uk. Retrieved 20 October 2019.
  52. ^ Okamura, Mayumi. "Edokomon - Kimono". project-japan.jp. Project Japan. Retrieved 5 August 2021.
  53. ^ a b Coline, Youandi (2 August 2019). "Formality Series: Tsukesage". chayatsujikimono.wordpress.com. Chayatsuji Kimono. Retrieved 20 October 2019.
  54. ^ Tim (5 October 2020). "Varianten des Kimono: Furisode, Tomesode, Hōmongi & Co". Tim no Tabi (in German).
  55. ^ Coline, Youandi (June 2018). "Are kimono and hikizuri the same?". Chayatsuji Kimono. Retrieved 14 May 2019.
  56. ^ "[Video from Atami Geigi Kenban on Instagram]" (in Japanese). 11 December 2018. Retrieved 14 May 2019.

External linksEdit

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