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Tout savoir sur le Kimono Japonais
May 22, 2019

Know everything (or almost) about the Japanese Kimono!

7 min read

Kimono, furisode, yukata, obi…. So many words that relate to japanese kimono ! If you want to know a little more about the history and current events of this nippon clothing as well as sorting out all these denominations, you are in the right place!

1) The Japanese Kimono, for whom and for what occasions?

Kimono Femme

First of all, you should know that the Japanese do not wear kimonos every day. This traditional dress is often worn for celebrations or special occasions in the country at the rising sun, in particular matsuris (festive or popular festivals in Japan) or even fireworks.

This was not always the case since the Japanese used to wear this habit daily in the past. The increasing complexity of kimonos and culture has made clothes more and more expensive.

Indeed, the word kimono Basically means "thing that we wear", it was simply clothes that the Japanese wore at the time to get dressed every day. If we break the word down, we find "kiru" which means to carry and "mono" which means object. Today the kimono refers to traditional clothes that we all know and everyday clothes have been renamed "youfuku" whose literal translation would be "western clothing" in other words clothing that resembles those worn by Westerners.

During the last century, prices were far too high for most households, which explains the fact that fewer and fewer people wore kimonos. However, with the rise in the standard of living, and the advancement of technology, we are now able to make kimonos at a lower cost and families are generally better off than at the time.

This garment is still worn by artists including musicians, writers etc. The kimono remains a relatively aesthetic garment which greatly arouses the interest of artistic souls. This tunic is therefore still an integral part of the Japanese style.

It is for this reason that this garment is still omnipresent in martial arts. In addition to its practical side, it is in phase with the spirit approached by practitioners, motivated by spirituality, an art that is felt in the gestures as in the outfit.

The Japanese are still attached to this garment, and if they no longer have the opportunity to wear it often, they have decided to create an event around the kimono, a way of being able to wear their cult clothes each year. bringing together around this common passion. This event is simply called the kimono lounge .

We are therefore on a return to the trend! This garment is once again worn on a daily basis by some fans, also in the cosplays and obviously in the events, dedicated or not, which have multiplied in recent years.

Certain periods are also more conducive to wearing this japanese garment , especially in summer when matsuris and fireworks are more frequent and also in spring during the sakura season.

This trend is put back on the table by the new generations who have decided to postpone this garment in unusual contexts. Streetwear is one of the fervent movements of Japanese kimonos, just like cosplays.

2) Why wear a kimono?

Kimono Japonais

The Japanese kimono, by its shape, its cut and its weaving, is a garment that perfectly matches everyone's shapes. In other words, it is one of the rare accoutrements that is worn perfectly by everyone. Everyone can wear a kimono, it will not necessarily be better worn by one than the other.

Therefore, it is a japanese garment which adapts to the change of the body. With this in mind, when you make a kimono for a child, you want them to be able to wear it even when they are growing up. What is different from the clothes that we currently wear which have morphological shapes, here the kimono is a simple piece of Japanese fabric cut in "T" which adapts!

It is besides a dress which crosses the generations. It is even more marked for Japanese women, for whom the kimono or furisode is passed from grandmother to mother then from mother to daughter and so on.

Not to mention the comfort provided by the Japanese kimono. It's a godsend to wear one, every movement is simpler and more pleasant, the wide cut of this garment also makes it light and allows optimal ventilation, your body will thank you for it!

Activities for tourists are also offered around the kimono. It is an experience to wear one and the Japanese have understood it well. It is through this kind of "traditional workshop" that the Japanese have the opportunity to present and make their culture known throughout the world. The kimono is a simple way to be able to experience concretely the Japanese culture .

Kimonos can be purchased in shops or on the internet, but can also be rented. In Japan it is a very common practice thus the number of stand of kimono rental has seen an increase in recent years.

3) How should you wear a Japanese kimono?

Kimono Traditionnel Femme

It is generally necessary for a woman, 2 hours for the complete clothing of the traditional kimono . In general, one hour for the hairstyle and one hour for the kimono. Rest assured, this is the traditional way to wear it but it is not mandatory. The only thing to know is that you close a kimono with the left side to the right side.

In the japanese tradition , the kimono or furisode worn by women is worn in several layers and is a garment that can sometimes be very heavy due to its many ornaments.

We find in particular the Hada juban which is the underwear to put under the kimono. Then the Naga Juban which is a layer to put under the kimono and which is held by a belt called the Date jime .

We can then add the Kasane eri which is a kind of collar and which is used to add a color to the kimono.

Finally comes the kimono which covers all the elements mentioned above, as well as the obi which is a large ornamental belt which embellishes the whole and gives structure to the outfit.

We can also add a Obi makura , a kind of cushion that adds volume. It will then be necessary to put a Obi Age to hide the latter.

The hairstyle is very important and must be treated in women since it highlights the kimono. There are several ways to style your hair but in general a high cut such as a bun is preferred.

A) For what reason?

Quite simply because in Japan, the neck is a symbol of sensuality in women. Tying your hair will release the neck but also uncover the kimono. It is also the only part of the body that can be seen in a woman when she is dressed in this way.

The traditional name for these haircuts is Nihon gami , a magnificent cut very common among geishas . However, modern hairstyles are also part of the game and can really embellish a Japanese kimono.

For men, the dress is much simpler and the haircut is not so demanding! 😊

4) Are there different kinds of Japanese kimono?

Kimono Geisha

This is where things get complicated! Let us introduce you to the biggest categories

A) Furisode

This variant is worn by young single women. The particularity of this garment is at the level of the sleeves since they are very long, we say that they are "drooping". He is seen as a lucky charm that would attract a good husband. Once the right mate has been found, the sleeves are cut off as a symbol of accomplishment and to show that the woman is married.

the furisode is usually worn for weddings, the new year or even the Sei jinshiki which is the ceremony of coming of age in Japan.

The Furisode appeared around the time of Edo jidai (1603-1867). At first, the sleeves of this kimono were relatively short. But during this period, they gave way to long sleeves.
The reason is quite simple: it was a period of peace in Japan, therefore Japanese culture and therefore fashion is enormously developed. Long sleeves among women were greatly appreciated as they made their dances much more masterful and elegant.

At first, this kimono was worn only by samurai daughters. But over time and especially with the advent of Mei ji jidai (1868-1912) and Showa jidai (1926-1989), it was the daughters of the villagers who wore it at weddings.

B) Yukata

It is a kind of kimono which is not lined with cotton. It is a much lighter and softer variant, it is also called the summer kimono . It is usually worn after a hot bath especially when leaving an onsen. It is increasingly worn and is an alternative to the kimono. It can be worn occasionally during a family outing when the sun is shining bright, but also during festivals and fireworks in summer.

Note that this variant can also be worn at home since it is a relatively comfortable garment, so it acts as a dressing gown or bathrobe.

C) Haori

It is a kind of jacket that is traditionally worn by men over their kimono. It could be similar to our kimonos cardigans . It has also become more and more popular in this form thanks to the new generation and in particular thanks to the style streetwear .
There are several variations: beach kimono , kimono jacket , cardigan kimono, see same japanese shirt !

There is still a whole slew of them, which stands out very little in particular in terms of colors or even the occasions for which they are worn etc. We will dedicate a complete article on this subject, we have here exposed the major distinctions that we can offer on kimono-obi.

Here is a great video from Hokuto Konishi that sums up the Japanese history kimono in 2 minutes and exposes the different kinds that can be found, all with a rather nice choreography.

5) Okay, that's all very well, but I walk around barefoot in my kimono?

Sandales Japonaises

Of course not ! There are also shoes dedicated to this outfit!

The most traditional are the Geta : They are generally made of wood and have 2 slices perpendicular to the sole below them, a kind of heel which raises the shoe. These are therefore high sandals which are separated in their center which divides the toes into 2. Special socks provided for this purpose have therefore been made: Tabis !

The most popular are the Zori : A little more comfortable, they are generally made of rubber or plastic and make walking much more pleasant. This time it is low sandals which also have this central separation and which can also be accompanied by Tabi.

There are also Waraji and the Okobo which are much more anecdotal but still deserve to be mentioned.

To conclude, this garment at the heart of Japanese tradition is making a comeback all over the world. The kawaii spirit, the steetwear style , cosplays, anime, manga and more only rekindle the flame around this practice, and we hope to do the same!

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