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KIMONO Japanese Clothing Culture

Kimonos have been the clothing style thatrepresented Japan. However, recently theJapanese government has taken in a newJapanese culture, "Cool Japan", featuringCosplay and Lolita fashion from animations,comics, games, and J-POP idol groups.

Until the Edo Period, kimonos have beenworn by the Japanese people as everydaywear. At special occasions such as NewYears Day and at weddings, people wore special, elaboratekimonos, which is now referred to as"haregi".

The photo above shows rolled up cloths forkimonos which are called "tanmono". In thephoto, the store staff is holding up a roll ofcloth, which is how the customer viewstheir cloth to choose. This roll of cloth is40 centimeters wide and 13.5 meters long.From just one roll of cloth, a whole kimonocan be made. Kimono designs are made byspinning different strings or by printing. Atcelebrations such as Coming-of-Age Dayand marriage, printed gorgeous kimonos areworn. Because there are few opportunitiesof wearing a kimono in modern Japan, notmany people know how to wear oneproperly. People who wear kimonos studyat specialized schools called "kitsuke"which teaches their students how to wearkimonos. Kimono stores may also helptheir customers wear kimonos.

An obi is a sash tied over a kimono, and it isas important as the kimono itself. Obis arealso rolled up, similar to "tanmono", withthe cloth being 30 centimeters wide and 4meters and 50 centimeters long. The way anobi is tied depends on the occasion andplace the person will wear it to. The photobelow shows how obis are displayed inshops.


Zori (Japanese sandals), "kanzashi"(ornamental hairpins), and bags are alsochosen to match the kimono. "Kanzashi" areespecially important to pick out accordingto the occasion.


I was very surprised to hear that making akimono and taking care of it takes mucheffort and difficulty. I appreciate thekindness of Mr. Yoshihara Kazuhiro and theshop staff of "Kurumaya Gofukuten" (車屋呉服店) for cooperating with this interview!(Address: 3chome, Maruyamadai, Konan-ku, Yokohama)

(Reported by Madoka Nishina)


Madoka Nishina 10th Saint Maur International School

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