a Japanese symbol
Japanese women wear a kimono now; how long will it last?
Most traditional national dresses are beautiful. I personally think very few compete with the elegance and beauty of the kimono. When I lived in Japan I always enjoyed visiting the kimono departments in the large department stores such as Takashimaya, Mitsukoshi and others in Ginza. I also enjoyed the more traditional shops in Tokyo’s traditional tourist neighborhood
||The Japanese love to share their culture with the foreigners in Tokyo (or at least that was my impression). I attended one kimono demonstrations in a Tokyo church as a part of our efforts to learn about Japan.
The demonstration had the goal to show foreigners how to dress in a kimono. Let me tell you, it is not an easy task. The kimono, that literally means “clothing” in Japanese, is not one piece of cloth, but the combination of
many; at least 12. Kimonos are made with the finest silk in beautiful textile designs. It is accompanied by other beautiful accessories such as the obi
The kimono is expensive and can cost tens of thousands of dollars. This is a result of the manufacturing process of the silk and because it is tailor-made. The traditional kimono silk is dyed using the same hand techniques used in the times of the ninjas and samurais. The attention to detail gives kimonos the grace that characterizes them.
Back to my kimono experience. We had drum music in the background played by a
man wearing traditional clothing (the equivalent of the kimono for men). While he played the music, a very nice and soft-spoken Japanese lady in her 50s demonstrated how each piece of the kimono is worn. As the
model, the wife of an American expatriate, was being covered with layer after layer, she was describing how her degree of comfort was reduced. The kimono makes sure that everybody wearing it tries to
straight. The movement is severely restricted. Forget about
jumping or crossing the legs. The kimono was designed for
Japanese women who normally do not have a
chest. The kimono actually further flattens the figure and it looks better on women with
chest. It is also a tight dress in every part of the body.
With this experience I thought it seems quiet normal that the kimono is only used on very special occasions such as weddings,
funeral, special holidays and others. But the young Japanese do not even want to wear it on special occasions. Few young people these days are taking lessons on how to wear a kimono. The manufactures and retailers are alarmed, the tradition seems to be dying.
The kimono is beautiful, but it is not practical. With the
of Japan it is not easy to wear kimonos anymore. Only before the
Second World War Japanese women wore kimono everyday. Now Japanese women need to take lessons to learn how to wear it. The young and
modern Japanese have limited time and resources. It is
more productive to take
dance or English lessons than to learn how to wear a kimono that will be used only once or twice a year and costs as much as a car.
After my kimono encounter of the third kind, I continued admiring the kimonos in Tokyo and thinking how the beautiful traditional land of the rising sun is changing.
popularity in Singapore Kimonos
at the time of weddings
Fitzgerald Dress Project