Japanese Kimono (着物)
The Kimono is one of the traditional Japanese crafts.
It is a traditional Japanese garment that was worn until the Meiji period (1868-1912), when Western clothing culture was introduced, and is very profoundly crafted by artisans, one by one, using techniques passed down through the ages.
The style has changed variously over time.
The beginning of Kimono
Japanese clothing began with the Kantoui, a cloth with a hole drilled in the middle, and in the Kofun period, it became a combination of like a jacket and trousers.
In the Nara period (710-794), the style of court attire was the same as in China, but by the Heian period (794-1185), it had become a unique style of layering like the Junihitoe.
In the period of the samurai and the simplification of noblemen’s costumes, the Kosode (小袖) appeared on the stage. The plain white Kosode with narrow cuffs was originally worn by the common people on a daily basis. Kosode, which used to be underwear for the aristocrats, became the center of clothing for the Japanese, regardless of gender or status, and became the prototype for the Kimono of today.
From the Azuchi-Momoyama period to the Edo period, improvements in dyeing and weaving techniques led to the creation of sumptuous Kimonos and Obis, and the Kimono culture blossomed.
In the Meiji period (1868-1912), with the inflowing of Western-style clothing, the Kimono gradually became a garment to be worn on special occasions such as weddings and funerals.
It is now an outfit for even more special occasions, such as coming-of-age ceremonies and weddings.
The feature of Kimono
One of the great features of the Kimono is that it can express a sense of seasonality.
The straight and simple shapes accentuate the delicacy, bold patterns, and vivid colors of the Kimono, which is dressed in the beautiful seasons of Japan, and tells of the changes of the seasons.
For this reason, Kimonos and Obis that remind people of seasonal events are considered “iki” (粋). Iki means a refreshing, good-natured, innocent, and sexy atmosphere.
For example, for a home party at a spring Hinamatsuri (Girls’ Festival), wear a cherry blossom colored Kimono with a cherry blossom patterned Obi, while for a formal meeting, wear a black Kimono with scattered cherry blossoms and a gold colored Obi.
In the early summer season, people wear sky-blue komon Kimono and iris Obis. In summer, people enjoy summer-like cotton yukata, such as fireworks and goldfish, for outdoor events in the evening.
And in autumn, the depth of the season is conveyed with a Kimono of warm colors such as brown and purple or a thick obi, and in early winter, it becomes a stylish accent if people use a white Kimono that reminds them of the first snowfall and Christmas colors such as red and green for an Obi jime.
In New Year, choose a Kimono with pine, bamboo, plum, or other flamboyant patterns and dress it up in a gorgeous way to add to the festive mood.
The current Kimono
Recently, high quality Kimono from the past can be purchased on the Internet at a relatively reasonable price, and young people are becoming interested in them again. In addition, there are many people who come to the ceremony with honor in Kimono, and it can be said that the importance as an important element to inherit the traditional beauty of Japan will increase.
In the past, there were detailed rules depending on the season, age, whether you were married or unmarried, etc., but nowadays, more and more people are enjoying themselves freely.
The procedure of putting on a Kimono is called “Kitsuke”, Kimono dressing, and there are classes in many places, so it is not so difficult once you get used to it.
Why don’t you try your hand at a Kimono?