Types, Ranks and History of Kimono
The kimono, a traditional Japanese garment, comes in a variety of types, just like Western garments.
The kimonos are listed in order of rank, with an explanation of how kimonos came into being at the bottom of the page.
* For the types of kimono that Keiko Tagai uses as materials, images of the actual kimono used are shown.
FORMAL WEAR __________________________________
- Uchikake (White-Uchikake and Colored-Uchikake)
Colored-Uchikake is the Western equivalent of wedding dress.
The history of the colored-uchikake began in the middle of the Muromachi period (1336 - 1573).
Originally, it was a kimono worn underneath by women of the samurai class.
In the Edo period (1603 - 1868), it became the mainstream costume among daughters of wealthy merchants and wealthy families, and in modern times, it is the garment of Japanese-style weddings.
It is characterized by traditional designs of cranes, phoenixes, peonies, etc., drawn with embroidery and real-gold-leaf, and is filled with wishes for long-lasting happiness.
Black-Tomesode is the Western equivalent of evening dress and afternoon dress.
In ancient times, it was originally kimono (furisode) worn by young women that was shortened and re-tailored with shorter sleeves after marriage, and these were called tomesode.
They became popular when worn by geisha in the late Edo period (1603 - 1868) and were widely popular among the general public.
In the Meiji period (1868 - 1912), they evolved into kimonos dyed black and became black-tomesode.
In modern times, it is the most prestigious formal wear for married women, and is worn at weddings, receptions, and other special occasions where courtesy and manners are important.
It is characterized by a black background with traditional and auspicious pattern on the hem only, and five family crests (Kamon).
Hikifurisode is the Western equivalent of wedding dress.
It has a long history and was originally the wedding costume of the samurai class, with the black-hikifurisode being a symbol of the upper class.
Today, it is a wedding garment that can be worn in a variety of colors and styles.
It features a long hem and long sleeves, and is painted with gorgeous patterns made of real-gold-leaf, glitter, etc.
Because it is worn with the hem dragging, the appearance of the kimono is like a Hollywood star walking on the red carpet in an evening dress, an elegant and beautiful look that boasts deep-rooted popularity.
Furisode is the Western equivalent of evening dress and afternoon dress.
The birth of the current furisode dates back to the Edo period. It was originally worn by children and young men and women, but gradually the sleeve length became longer as formal attire for young women.
There are various theories as to why the sleeves became longer, such as to show affection to the intended person and to respond to proposal, or because it was fashionable for geisha to be glamorous in waving their sleeves, or to ward off evil spirits by waving their sleeves.
Today, it is the most prestigious garment for young women (unmarried), and includes the Hikifurisode.
The length of the sleeves determines the rank of the dress (the longer the sleeve, the higher the rank), and it is worn on formal occasions such as coming-of-age ceremonies (Seijinshiki), wedding receptions, and recitals.
It is characterized by long sleeves, bright colors, and gorgeous patterns, and is associated with the wish that the wearer will lead a wonderful life.
SEMI-FORMAL WEAR __________________________________
INFORMAL WEAR __________________________________
CASUAL WEAR __________________________________
Komon is the Western equivalent of casual dress.
Komon-dyeing was first used for garments in the Muromachi period.
In the Edo period, it was used for kamishimo (formal attire of samurai), and each clan used its own set of komon to distinguish status and rank by pattern.
In the Meiji period, the decree to cut off hair (topknots were removed) and the influence of Europeanization led to the use of multiple colors and bold patterns, and in the Taisho period (1912 - 1926), a kimono culture that is still relevant today was born amid the social climate known as Taisho Roman.
Characteristically, patterns are repeated throughout the kimono by katazome (stencil dyeing), and there is a wide variation of colors and patterns.
EVERYDAY WEAR __________________________________
Tsumugi is the Western equivalent of everyday and work clothes.
In the Edo period, the common people preferred cotton, while the wealthy preferred soft and shiny silk made from raw silk.
Tsumugi, woven with threads made from waste cocoons rather than raw silk, has long been used for as work clothes.
In modern times, it is popular for various occasions except for formal occasions.
Its characteristics are that it is durable and the pattern is a woven pattern woven with dyed threads.
The more you use it, the more you can enjoy its unique texture, just like vintage jeans, where even the stains and frayed edges are attractive.
- Kasuri is the Western equivalent of everyday and work clothes.
The weaving technique originated in India and was introduced to Japan via Southeast Asia.
In the Muromachi and Sengoku periods, kasuri began to be woven in Japan, and the variety of designs and weaving techniques developed in their own unique way.
Today, kasuri kimono are made from a variety of materials including silk, cotton, and linen, and are widely popular.
Its characteristics are that it is durable and the pattern is a woven pattern woven with dyed threads. It is very similar to Tsumugi, but the main difference is that the outlines of the pattern are woven in such a way that they appear blurred.
- Wool Kimono
- Cotton Kimono
and so forth
- History of Kimono -
In Japan, the art of weaving and dyeing cloth has been essential to the development of a unique clothing culture, including the kimono, since ancient times.
It is not known exactly when cloth began to be used in Japan, but the main material used for cloth was hemp in the Jomon period (ca. 14,000 B.C. to 10th century B.C.), and silk was also used in the Yayoi period (10th century B.C. to mid 3rd century A.D.).
Later, different people wore different types of clothing depending on their status.
In the 7th - 8th centuries, the nobility wore gorgeous silk garments in a variety of colors.
To express authority, hems and sleeves became very long and large.
The "Junihitoe", a style established in the Heian period (794 A.D. - 1185) is a typical example, and female aristocrats wore many layers of such silk garments.
The upper classes, nobility and samurai, wore "Kosode" as undergarments.
** The "Kosode" is the prototype of today's kimono.
On the other hand, the common people wore clothes made mainly of hemp until the spread of cotton in the 17th century.
In the Muromachi period (1336 - 1573), samurai began to wear silk "Kosode" as outer garments.
** Around this time, the word "Kimono" began to be used.
Later, dyeing techniques were developed, and the kimono itself became increasingly valuable as an art craft.
Japanese art (Ukiyoe, Rinpa, Kimono, and other crafts) attracted attention through exhibits at World Expositions in the mid-19th century, and kimonos were incorporated into the works of European artists such as Monet and Van Gogh. (Japonisme).
During the Meiji period (1868 - 1912), foreigners visiting Japan purchased large quantities of kimono, Noh costumes, and other dyed and woven items from the Edo period and brought them back to their own countries.
These items became works of art in the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (U.S.A.) and the Museum of Oriental Art, Venice (Italy).
After the Meiji Era, as modernization progressed in Japan, western-style clothing became more common, and the opportunities for Japanese people to wear kimonos decreased.
Nowadays, all people regardless of status can wear kimonos equally and freely, but fewer people wear kimonos as everyday wear, and kimonos are worn mainly for occasions such as weddings, coming-of-age ceremonies, entrance ceremonies, tea ceremonies, parties, and so forth.
However, more and more people, especially young people, are enjoying kimonos as everyday wear, giving birth to a street fashion unique to Japan.
The kimono, a traditional Japanese garment, has been designed to suit each era and has been handed down over a long history to the present.
And it will continue to evolve in the future.