Japanese Kimono

The kimono is a traditional form of clothing worn by Japanese women and men. There are many different forms of Japanese kimono. The word kimono literally as known as “clothing”, and up until the mid 19th century it was the form of dress worn by everyone in Japan. Between 30 and 100 days after a child is born, the parents, siblings, and grandparents visit a shrine together to report the child’s birth. The baby is dressed in a white under-kimono. On top of that kimono, the baby wears a brightly coloured yuzen-dyed kimono if it is a girl, and a black kimono decorated with the family crest if it is a boy.

Another key event in a kid’s life is the SHICHI-GO-SAN(seven-five-three) Festival, which takes place in November. On this day, they are dressed in kimonos and parents will take their 5 years old boys and 7 or 3 years old girls to the local shrine to thanks the gods for keeping their children healthy and making them grow. Japanese women wear different kind of Kimono throughout the different stages in their life. When a young Japanese woman reach 20 years old, she is recognised as an adult.

Many parents buy the Furisode for their daughters to celebrate this vital point in a young woman’s life. Furisode is a formal kimono for single women, it is brightly colored and made of very fine quality silk. In the very modest Japanese society wearing a Furisode is a very obvious statement that the single woman is available for marriage. The major points of the furisode is the long sleeves and it will go right to the ground. When a Japanese woman marries, many parents buy their daughters another kimono call the houmongi.

The houmongi takes over the role the furisode played in the life when she was single. The houmongi is the married woman’s formal kimono. It will be wear when attending friend’s Japanese weddings or tea ceremonies while Tomesode is normally wear to a Japanese wedding ceremony of a close relative. Japanese will wear different colour of Kimonos that suit to the four seasons of the year. Pale colours such as light green are appropriate for spring, while cool colours such as lavender or dark blue are good for summer.

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Today, the yukata is a casual light cotton kimono widely worn as a casual wear in Bon-Odori and summer festivals and attending for public occassions. The yukata is worn with a wider belt, which can be simply wrapped around the waist and tucked in at the end. For a more formal appearance, the yukata is worn with an obi belt, along with a matching geta (wooden sandals) and purse to complete the attire. The colour of autumn is imitate the hues of the turning leaves while winter is the season for strong colours like black and red.

Although kimonos are no longer everyday wear in Japan, people stil like to wear them at various times throughout the year. And when they do, they use the fabrics, colors, and a designs of their kimonos to express their love of the 4 seasons. The name yukata comes from the word ‘yu’ (bath) and ‘katabira’ (under clothing). In the Heian era (794-1185), court nobles wore linen ‘yukata’ which were draped loosely after taking a bath. The yukata was later also worn by Japanese warriors and by the Edo era (1600-1868), it was widely worn by the public when public bath became a popular recreation in Japan.

Furisode are mainly worn for major social functions such aswedding ceremonies or tea ceremonies until they get married. A Furisode normally costs around A$15,000 for the whole outfit which depends on the quality of the materials, design and workmanship. The second Monday in January is a public holiday called ‘Adult Day’ and many young women attend a ceremony wearing their Furisode kimono. The Mofuku is only worn to the funeral of a close relative. This kimono is all black. ‘Hadajuban’ is the first undergarment worn in the kimono attire. It is so named as it is worn next to the skin.

Note 1: As the kimono is cut in a straight pattern / shape, padding is often needed around the waist and/or bust. A padding similar to the one shown in the picture can be worn to fill / level off body curves. Please note that padding is worn underneath the ‘hadajuban’. Note 2: Over the ‘hadajuban’, a second undergarment called the ‘nagajuban’ is worn to add collar definition to the kimono. Please note that the ‘nagajuban’ is not worn with a casual kimono such as theyukata. In my past experience, I thought Kimono will only be worn during “Bon-Odori”, m

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