Hello, this is TORA.
 
Nowadays, I often see foreign tourists visiting Asakusa in Japanese clothes. I am also personally a fan of kimonos, and I also love the smell of paulownia wood drawers, which store kimonos.
This time, I would like to tell you about the charms of kimono, one of the 3 most popular aspects of Japanese traditional culture.
 
 
 

What is a kimono?

It originally meant “something to wear (kirumono)”, but it could also mean Japanese clothing in general, as opposed to Western clothing. Nowadays, however, kimono is mostly used to mean nagagi (ankle-length traditional Japanese garment), without including other traditional Japanese wear such as haori (short Japanese overgarment), jyuban (type of undergarment), and coat. As you know, the word is also used to mean Japan’s traditional or ethnic clothing.
 
While Western clothing combines both woven and knitted fabric to make curved parts to form a clothing that fits the shape of the body (dressmaking), Japanese clothing generally combines several straight parts (kimono-making) to make nagagi (kimono body), which is then tied using a strap.
 

What is Wafuku (Japanese clothing)?

Literally, it is a word combining Japan (和 / Wa) and clothing (服 / Fuku).
As I previously explained, wafuku is a term made to distinguish itself from Western clothing.
 

What is Gofuku (kimono fabric)?

It came to Japan from Eastern Wu of China.
At one point, Japan started calling the textile fabric technology brought in from Eastern Wu, “Gofuku”. It then became a word to mean textile fabric, textile technology, and roll of cloth.
 

What is Tanmono (roll of cloth)?

Cloth prepared for making kimono that is rolled like a scroll. The “tan” of tanmono is a unit used to specify the length of the cloth.
One “tan” is about 12 meters long, which is generally the necessary length for creating a kimono for one person.
Generally, for one scroll, the width of the cloth is approximately 34 centimeters, and the length about 12 meters.
 

The charms of kimono

What is charming about kimono is the combination of colors woven throughout the clothing.
Expressing the changing seasons in Japan, a kimono can be worn in various ways to fit different seasons by pairing it with different kinds of straps and accessories.
 
Kimono is also made to enhance the shape of the Japanese body. For males, kimono offers various subtle details that can be used for adding style, such as haura (haori lining), jyuban (undershirt), sha-re-mon (crest), etc.
Another charming aspect of a kimono is the gestures of the person wearing it, besides its beautiful appearance.
Additionally, a geisha can change how they wear their kimono to appear to be more seductive. Their outfit also makes it hard for them to make big or sloppy movements, which alone makes them exceedingly charming.
 

Summary

I believe kimono is a part of Japanese culture that has been receiving increasing attention from around the world.
Although I do not wear it very often, and usually think of it as something pricey, kimono is recognized worldwide as a product of advanced technology and refined traditional crafting skills.
 
I hope you were able to deepen your understanding of kimonos after reading this article. How about trying out a kimono (Japanese clothing) yourself, a product which has inherited the good old culture of Japan?
 
That’s all for today.
Otsukaresama deshita.