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The kimono (着物?)[1] is a Japanese traditional garment worn by women, men and children.

History

As the kimono has another name gofuku (呉服?, literally "clothes of Wu (吳)"), the earliest kimonos were heavily influenced by traditional Han Chinese clothing, known today as hanfu (漢服?, kanfuku in Japanese), through Japanese embassies to China which resulted in extensive Chinese culture adoptions by Japan, as early as the fifth century ce[2]. It was during the 8th century, however, when Chinese fashions came into style among the Japanese, and the overlapping collar became particularly a women's fashion[2]. During Japan's Heian period (794–1192 ce), the kimono became increaslingly stylized, though one still wore a half-apron, called a mo, over it [2]. During the Muromachi age (1392-1573 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" [2]. 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 [2]. 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.[2].

The formal kimono was replaced by the more convenient Western clothes and Yukata as everyday wear. After an edict by Emperor Meiji,[3] police, railroad men and teachers moved to Western clothes. The Western clothes became the army and school uniform for boys. After the 1923 Great Kantō earthquake, kimono wearers often became victims of robbery. The Tokyo Women's & Children's Wear Manufacturers' Association(東京婦人子供服組合) promoted the western clothes. Between 1920 and 1930 the Sailor outfit replaced the undivided hakama in school uniform for girls. The 1932 fire at Shirokiya's Nihombashi store is said to have been the catalyst for the decline in kimonos as everyday wear. (It is, however, suggested, that this is an urban myth.)[4][5] The national uniform, Kokumin-fuku (国民服) a type of western clothes was mandated for males in 1940.[6][7][8] Today most people wear western clothes and wear the cooler and more comfortable yukata for special occasions.

Textiles and manufacture

File:Kimono lady at Gion, Kyoto.jpg

Kimonos for men are available in various sizes and 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 individual wearer. An ideally tailored kimono has sleeves that fall to the wrist when the arms are lowered.

Kimonos are traditionally made from a single bolt of fabric called a tan. Tan come in standard dimensions—about 14 inches wide and 12½ yards long[2]—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[2]. 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 a different person.[2]

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 kimono custom-made by either joining multiple bolts, weaving custom-width fabric, or using non-standard size fabric.[9]

Traditionally, kimonos are sewn by hand, but even machine-made kimonos require substantial hand-stitching. Kimono fabrics are also frequently hand made and hand decorated. Various 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 silk, silk brocade, silk crepes (such as chirimen) and satin weaves (such as rinzu). Modern kimonos are also 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.

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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[2]. 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[2]. Today, the kimono is normally worn with a single layer on top of one or more undergarments. The pattern of the kimono can also 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 done 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: 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 various 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.

Parts of a kimono

File:Kimono parts.png
  • Dōura (胴裏?) upper lining on a woman's kimono
  • Eri (?) collar
  • Fuki hem guard
  • Furi sleeve below the armhole
  • Maemigoro (前身頃?) front main panel
  • Miyatsukuchi opening under the sleeve
  • Okumi (?) front inside panel
  • Sode[2] (?) sleeve
  • 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 back main section

Cost

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A woman's kimono may easily exceed US$10,000;[10] a complete kimono outfit, with kimono, undergarments, obi, ties, socks, sandals and accessories, can exceed US$20,000. A single obi may cost several thousand dollars. However, most kimonos owned by kimono hobbyists or by practitioners of traditional arts are far less expensive. Enterprising people make their own kimono and undergarments by following a standard pattern, or by recycling older kimonos. Cheaper and machine-made fabrics can substitute for the traditional hand-dyed silk. There is also a thriving business in Japan for second-hand kimonos, which can cost as little as ¥500(About 5 US dollars). Women's obis, however, mostly remain an expensive item. Although simple patterned or plain colored ones can cost as little as ¥1,500(about 15 US dollars), even a used obi can cost hundreds of dollars, and experienced craftsmanship is required to make them. Men's obis, even those made from silk, tend to be much less expensive, because they are narrower, shorter and less decorative than those worn by women.

Styles

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[2]. 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[2]. 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 kimonos

Many modern Japanese women lack the skill to put on a kimono unaided: 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.

Furisode

File:Kimono2.jpg
(振袖): furisode literally translates as swinging sleeves—the sleeves of furisode average between 39 and Script error 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 and receptions. They may also be worn to formal parties.

Iromuji

(色無地): single-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.

Komon

(小紋): "fine pattern". 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 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

The mofuku is a formal garment intended for mourning. It is made of pitch black silk, without any embellishment other than the 5 kamon. The obi, obijime, obiage, zori, and handbag are also black. The mofuku is worn on the days of the wake, funeral, and cremation of the deceased in a Buddhist funeral ceremony. Due to white being symbolic of death in Japan, the mofuku was formerly a white garment; however, the modern mofuku is now a black garment, to contrast with the white kimono of the dead.
The completely black mourning ensemble is usually reserved for family and others that are close to the deceased. For others, it is customary to wear a colored iromuji with black accessories, to symbolize that they are in mourning but are not particularly close to the deceased.

Tomesode

Irotomesode
(色留袖): single-color kimono, patterned only below the waistline. Irotomesode are slightly less formal than kurotomesode, and are worn by married women, usually close relatives of the bride and groom at weddings. An irotomesode may have three or five kamon.
Kurotomesode
(黒留袖): a black kimono patterned only below the waistline, kurotoroko 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.

Uchikake

Uchikake 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 color.

Susohiki / Hikizuri

File:Geisha-fullheight.jpg
The susohiki is mostly 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 (4.7–5.2 ft) long, a susohiki can be up to 2 m (6.3 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).[11]

Men's kimonos

File:Shinto married couple.jpg

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.

File:Armored Samurai with Jin-Haori.jpg

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. These are usually paired with white undergarments and accessories.


Accessories and related garments

File:Datejime.png
File:Zoori straw.png
Date eri or kasane eri
is a long retangular piece made to resemble a folded kimono collar. It is a decorative accessory used in women's formal kimono styles between the collars of the nagajuban and the kimono to emulate the appearance of wearing an extra layer of kimono beneath.

Datejime or datemaki

(伊達締め) is a wide undersash used to tie the nagajuban and the outer kimono and hold them in place.
Eri-sugata or kantan eri or date eri
(衿姿) is a detatched 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
() is the traditional Japanese undergarment (loin cloth) for adult males, made from a length of cotton.
Geta
(下駄) are wooden sandals worn by men and women with yukata. One unique style is worn solely by geisha.
Hakama
() is 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. It is also worn in certain martial arts such as aikido. 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) is the worker's version of the more formal haori. Often padded for warmth, as opposed to the somewhat lighter happi.
Haori
(羽織) is 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. Men's haori are typically shorter than women's.
Haori-himo
(羽織紐) is a tasseled, woven string fastener for haori. The most formal color is white.
Happi
(法被) is a type of haori traditionally worn by shop keepers and is now associated mostly with festivals.
Hiyoku
(ひよく) is 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.
Juban
Hadajuban
(肌襦袢) is a thin garment similar to an undershirt. It is worn under the nagajuban.[12][13]
Nagajuban
(長襦袢, or simply juban) is a kimono-shaped robe worn by both men and women beneath the main outer garment.[14] 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.[15] 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.[16]
Kanzashi
() are 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)[17] The susoyoke and hadajuban combined into a one-piece garment.[18][19]
Karihimo, koshihimo
(腰紐) is 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".
Netsuke
is an ornament worn suspended from the men's obi.
Obi
() is the sash worn with kimono.
Obi-ita or mae-ita
(帯板) is a thin board, often fabric-covered, that is worn beneath the women's obi in front to keep the obi from getting creased.

Obiage

(帯揚げ) is an accessory for women's obi, a sash that is tied around the top edge of the obi and which covers the obimakura "pillow" and may keep the upper part of the obi musubi "knot" in place.
Obimakura
(帯枕) is a small pillow used to give volume and shape to the female obi styles.
Obijime
(帯締め) is a narrow ribbon or cord worn around women's obi. It is necessary to hold the popular taiko musubi in place, and doubles as a decorative element.
Samue
(作務衣) are the everyday clothes for a male Zen Buddhist monk, and the favored garment for shakuhachi players.
Susoyoke
(裾除け) is a thin half-slip-like piece of underwear worn by women under the nagajuban.[12][20]
Tabi
(足袋) are 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) are straw rope sandals which are mostly worn by monks.
Yukata
(浴衣) is 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.
Zōri
(草履) are 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.

Layering

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.

Care of kimonos

File:Kimonofold.jpg

In the past, a kimono would often be entirely taken apart for washing, and then re-sewn for wearing[2]. This traditional washing method is called arai hari. Because the stitches must be taken out for washing, traditional kimonos 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 kimonos 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 kimonos. These methods help to preserve the garment and to keep it from creasing when stored. Kimonos are often stored wrapped in paper called tatōshi.

Kimonos 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.

References

  1. "Kimono". Victoria and Albert Museum. Retrieved 2007-09-20. 
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 Dalby, Liza (2001). Kimono: Fashioning Culture. Washington, USA: University of Washington Press. ISBN 0-295-98155-5. 
  3. 1871(明治5)年11月12日太政官布告399号
  4. [1]
  5. Old Tokyo: Shirokiya Department Store
  6. 戦時衣生活簡素化実施要綱
  7. 国民服令
  8. 国民服制式特例
  9. source
  10. Hindell, Juliet (May 22, 1999). "World: Asia-Pacific Saving the kimono". BBC. Retrieved 2007-09-20. 
  11. www.ichiroya.com
  12. 12.0 12.1 Yamanaka, Norio (1982). The Book of Kimono. Tokyo; New York: Kodansha International, p. 60. ISBN 0870115006 (USA), ISBN 4770009860 (Japan).
  13. Underwear (Hadagi): Hada-Juban. KIDORAKU Japan. Accessed 22 October 2009.
  14. Yamanaka, Norio (1982). The Book of Kimono. Tokyo; New York: Kodansha International, p. 61. ISBN 0870115006 (USA), ISBN 4770009860 (Japan).
  15. Nagajuban undergarment for Japanese kimono
  16. 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 0764312286.
  17. A search for "着物スリップ". Rakuten. Accessed 22 October 2009.
  18. Yamanaka, Norio (1982). The Book of Kimono. Tokyo; New York: Kodansha International, p. 76. ISBN 0870115006 (USA), ISBN 4770009860 (Japan).
  19. Underwear (Hadagi): Kimono Slip. KIDORAKU Japan. Accessed 22 October 2009.
  20. Underwear (Hadagi): Susoyoke. KIDORAKU Japan. Accessed 22 October 2009.

Further reading

External links

Craft Materials


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