Are you interested in something “Japanese” ?
Kimono culture is one of the representatives, but it is too deep and complicated to explain in one page here.
This is just introduction about Kimono these days.
Kimono has changed its features and the way to wear gradually according to the lifestyle of the people and back ground of the times. Also, fabric used for Kimono varies depending on weather and customs of each region.
There are many kinds of Kimono fabrics in each region in Japan with various ways of dyeing, weaves, and paint,
where, nature of the season in Japan has always been reflected.
You can tell from Kimono culture that Japanese have lived with, learned from, and been blessed by nature.
By the way, do you know Kimono is also called “Gofuku”(呉服) ? Gofuku means cloths of “Go”(呉), the ancient name of the country, a part of current China in the 3rd century. So, allegedly the origin of Kimono, whose way to wear is to lay left side on the right , came from “Go”.
<Forms of Kimono>
There is a different form of Kimono each for women, men, and children. Their major differences are:
- Women’s Kimono has “Miyatsu-guchi”(身八つ口), un-sewed placket opened on underarm, and sleeves also have un-sewed part on the inward side. On the other hand, Men’s Kimono does not have any of these open plackets.
- Children’s Kimono has “Age”(上げ), folded part on the shoulder and waist to keep or release them according to the growth.
<Material for Kimono>
Various materials are used for Kimono fabric these days, such as silk, cotton, wool, hemp, as well as chemical. Prestigious, high-class Kimono is made from only silk, on the other hand, casual Kimono is made from any of above materials. Cotton, woolen, and hemp are not regarded suitable for high-class Kimono even if they are natural materials.
<Classes of Kimono>
Kimono has its classes depending on its patterns, pictures, and materials, especially for women.
- Highest: Tomesode (留袖) — There is picture drawn only on the bottom and not on area above hip.
Black color is only for married women. Tomesode has 5 family emblems that are dyed on the back, sleeves and breast.
- Second: Houmongi (訪問着) —Picture can be drawn anywhere including on collar, however, it has to be the one
like a paint art, but not the one with orderly pattern that is same even upside down.
- Third-1: Tsukesage (付け下げ) —Kimono that has simpler and less gorgeous picture than Houmongi, and no picture on the collar.
- Third-2: Iromuji (色無地) —Kimono of one color without drawn picture. It will be higher if it has family emblems.
- Casual : Komon (小紋) —Kimono that is made from fabric with orderly pattern. There is no pattern rule for Komon.
- Casual : Yukata (浴衣) — Summer Kimono. Originally it was cloth to wear after taking bath and sleep with.
Obi(帯) is a sash or belt to wear on Kimono. Obi also has its classes as same as kimono, and Kimono and Obi have to be balanced in class when they are coordinated.
- Second : Fukuro-obi (袋帯), that can be coordinate with Tomesode, Furisode, Houmongi, Tsukesage, and Iromuji.
Traditional Kimono fabrics are dyed with colors made from flowers and plants, whose sheades are
rustic and simple sometimes, but have depth and “Japanese beauty”
Although there are a log of ways to dye, the major, famous dyeing techniques are as below;
- Kyo-Yuzen (京友禅)
- Kaga-Yuzen (加賀友禅)
- Bingata (紅型)
- Edo-Komon (江戸小紋)
- Shibori (絞り)
There are a log of local weavings in Japan. Tsumugi (紬) is the representative. Tsumugi weaving technique was developed especially in Edo era (around mid 17 century) along with Yuzen dyeing. Because Tokugawa government of the time often banned ordinary people from luxury lives, these people enjoyed wearing Tsumugi kimono that looked humble than Yuzen dyeing kimono that was, on the other hand, worn by high-class people of Samurai family.
Some method and techniques of making Kimono fabrics, such as”Ojiya-Chijimi” and “Yuki-tsumugi”, have been registered as UNESCO world intangible heritage.
Famous weavings you may heard of in addition to Ojiya-Chijimi and Yuki-Tsumugi, are “Oshima-Tsumugi (大島紬)” and “Kurume-Gasuri (久留米絣)”.
<Rules to wear>
Although there are many complicated rules to wear Kimono, it is most important to wear it with left side laid on the right side .
In another words, the right collar is under the left collar.
If you do it the other way around, that will be for DEAD person !
We used to enjoy Kimono much more on new year holidays or “O-shogatsu (お正月)” , and every ceremony such as school entrance, graduation, wedding, and so on.
Unfortunately , as Japanese lifestyle changes along with the westernized culture for long time, people who wear Kimono is decreasing.
It should be inevitable that our values change as time goes by, so does Kimono culture.
To keep Kimono culture alive being proud of it as our ethnic costume, and hoping that many people in the world will enjoy it, here, we would like to introduce Kimono and its relating goods with new idea of their usage.