Japanese clothing

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Japanese culture has been greatly impacted by the rest of the world throughout history. One of the most noticeable changes has been Japanese clothing. There are typically two types of clothing that the Japanese wear: Western clothing (洋服 yōfuku?) and the Japanese clothing (和服 wafuku?), such as kimonos.

While the traditional ethnic garments of Japan are still in use, they are mainly worn for ceremonies and special events, funerals, coming-of-age ceremonies (seijin shiki), and festivals. In more recent years, western clothing is worn often in day-to-day life. While the westernization of fashions has continued at a rapid pace, the kimono still lives on within the Japanese culture.

An example of a traditional kimono

East and West Influence[edit]

Modern Japanese fashion history might be conceived as the very gradual westernization of Japanese clothes. The woolen and worsted industries were completely a product of Japan’s re-established contact with the West in the 1850s and 1860s. Before the 1860s, Japanese clothing consisted entirely of a great variety of kimono. This is a loosely fitted robe worn with a broad belt, made either of silk and cotton, cotton, or linen.

They first appeared in the Jomon period, (14,500 B.C. ~ 300 B.C.), with no distinction between male and female. After Japan opened up for trading with the outside world, other clothing options started to come in. The first Japanese to adopt western clothing were officers and men of some units of the shogun's army and navy. Sometime in the 1850s these men adopted woolen uniforms worn by English marines stationed at Yokohama. To produce these uniforms could not have been an easy matter, the cloth had to be imported. Perhaps the most significant of this early adoption of Western styles was its public origin. For quite a while, the public sector remained as major champion of the new garb.[1]

The style only grew from there, moving out from the military to other lifestyles. Soon, courtiers and bureaucrats were urged to adopt Western clothing, which was thought to be more practical. The Ministry of Education ordered that Western-style student uniforms by worn in public colleges and universities. Businessmen, teachers, doctors, bankers, and other leaders of the new society wore suits to work and at large social functions. Although western-style dress was becoming more popular for the work place, schools, and streets it was not worn by everybody.[2] Since World War II most areas have been taken over by western clothing. Thus, by the opening of the twentieth century, western dress was a symbol of social dignity and progressiveness. However, the vast majority of Japanese stuck to their fashions, in favor of the more comfortable kimono. Western dress for street wear and Japanese dress at home remained the general rule for a very long time.[3]

An example of Eastern influence from Japan that spread to the rest of the world is evident in the late 1880s. An ordinary wool blanket was used as a shawl for women, and a red blanket was featured in Vogue for winter wear.

Until the 1930s, the majority of Japanese continued to wear the kimono, and Western clothes were still restricted to out-of-home use by certain classes. The Japanese have interpreted western clothing styles from the United States and Europe and made it their own. Overall, it is evident throughout history that there has been much more of a Western influence on Japan’s culture and clothing. However, the traditional kimono still remains a major part of the Japanese way of life, and will be for a long time.[4]

Types and styles of Japanese clothing[edit]

An example of a Japanese clothing is the kimono; the kimono is a traditional garment. Japanese kimonos are wrapped around the body, sometimes in several layers, and are secured in place by sashes with a wide obi to complete it.[5] There are also a number of accessories and ties needed in order to wear the kimono correctly. The modern kimono is not worn as often as it once was. Most women now wear western-style clothing and only wear kimono for special occasions.[6] In modern Japan kimono are a marked feminine costume and a national attire. There are multiple types and subtypes of kimonos that a woman can wear: furisode, uchikake and shiromoku, houmongi, yukata, tomesode, and mofuku, depending on her marital status and the event she intends to attend.[7]

The Kimono and its Uses[edit]

One type of traditional Japanese clothing is the Kimono. The word Kimono literally translates as “thing to wear”, and up until the 19th century it was the main form of dress worn by men and women alike in Japan.[8] Traditionally, the art of assembling the kimono was passed on from mother to daughter, and although this art is now also taught in schools, the technique is the same.[9] First, one puts on the tabi, which are which cotton socks.[10] Then the undergarments are put on followed by a top and a wraparound skirt.[11] Next, the nagajuban (under-kimono) is put on, which is then tied by a datemaki belt.[12] Finally, the kimono is put on, with the left side covering the right side, and then tied with an obi. It is important to not tie the kimono with the right side covering the left because this signifies the dressing of a corpse for burial.[13] When the kimono is worn outside, zori sandals are traditionally worn on the feet.[14]

There are different types of kimonos that are worn for different occasions and seasons. Women typically wear kimonos when they attend traditional arts, such as a tea ceremonies or Ikebana classes.[15] Girls and young single women wear furisode, which is a colorful style of kimono with long sleeves that are tied with a brightly-colored obi.[16] During wedding ceremonies, the bride and groom will often go through many different costume changes. Shiromuku or Uchikake are worn by brides, which are heavily embroidered white kimonos.[17] Grooms wear black kimonos made from habutae silk. For funerals, both men and women wear plain black kimonos. It is also acceptable for men to wear black suits for both weddings and funerals. The “coming of age” ceremony, Seijin no Hi, is also another occasion where kimonos are worn.[18] This celebration is held every year in January and it involves twenty year olds celebrating becoming adults. At these celebrations, women wear elaborately-colored kimonos, often with tacky boas. Other occasions where kimonos are still worn today include New Year, graduation ceremonies, and Shichi-go-san, which is a celebration for children.

Kimonos are also worn for different seasons, depending on the weather. Awase (lined) kimonos, made of silk, wool, or synthetic fabrics, are worn during the cooler months.[19] During these months, kimonos with more rustic colors and patterns (like russet leaves), and kimonos with darker colors and multiple layers, are favored.[20] Light, cotton yukata are worn by both men and women during the spring and summer months. In the warmer weather months, vibrant colors and floral designs (like cherry blossoms) are common.[21]

Materials[edit]

Up until the fifteenth century kimonos were made of hemp or linen, and they were made with multiple layers of materials.[22] Today, authentic kimonos are made of silk, silk brocade, silk crepes (such as chirimen) and satin weaves (such as rinzu).[23] Modern kimonos that are made with less-expensive easy-care fabrics such as rayon, cotton sateen, cotton, polyester and other synthetic fibers, are more widely worn today in Japan.[24] However, silk is still considered the ideal fabric for kimonos.[25]

Kimonos are typically 39-43 inches long and 14-15 inches wide cut into eight pieces.[26] These pieces are then sewn back together to create the basic T-shape. Kimonos are traditionally sewn by hand.[27] However, even machine-made kimonos require substantial hand-stitching. Kimonos are traditionally made from a single bolt of fabric called a tan.[28] Tan come in standard dimensions, and the entire bolt is used to make one kimono.[29] The finished kimono consists of four main strips of fabric—two panels covering the body and two panels forming the sleeves—with additional smaller strips forming the narrow front panels and collar.[30] Kimono fabrics are frequently hand-made and decorated.

Kimonos are worn with sashes called obi, which hold the kimono in place and keep the front closed.[31] Obi not only serve this practical function, but are aesthetically pleasing as well.[32] Obi are about 13 feet long and 12 inches wide.[33] There are two types of obi: fukuro-obi, which have a design only on one side; and nagoya-obi, which are narrower in the middle to make them easier to tie around the body.[34]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Jackson, Anna. "Kimono: Fashioning Culture by Liza Dalby." Rev. of Kimono: Fashioning Culture. Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London 58 (1995): 419-20. JSTOR. Web. 6 Apr. 2015.
  2. ^ Dalby, Liza. (Mar 1995) Kimono: Fashioning Culture.
  3. ^ Jackson, Anna. "Kimono: Fashioning Culture by Liza Dalby." Rev. of Kimono: Fashioning Culture. Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London 58 (1995): 419-20. JSTOR. Web. 6 Apr. 2015.
  4. ^ Jackson, Anna. "Kimono: Fashioning Culture by Liza Dalby." Rev. of Kimono: Fashioning Culture. Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London 58 (1995): 419-20. JSTOR. Web. 6 Apr. 2015.
  5. ^ Goldstein-Gidoni, O. (1999). Kimono and the construction of gendered and cultural identities. Ethnology, 38 (4), 351-370.
  6. ^ Goldstein-Gidoni, O. (1999). Kimono and the construction of gendered and cultural identities. Ethnology, 38 (4), 351-370.
  7. ^ Goldstein-Gidoni, O. (1999). Kimono and the construction of gendered and cultural identities. Ethnology, 38 (4), 351-370.
  8. ^ Grant, P. (2005). Kimonos: the robes of Japan. Phoebe Grant’s Fascinating Stories of World Cultures and Customs, 42.
  9. ^ Goldstein-Gidoni, O. (1999). Kimono and the construction of gendered and cultural identities. Ethnology, 38 (4), 351-370.
  10. ^ Grant, P. (2005). Kimonos: the robes of Japan. Phoebe Grant’s Fascinating Stories of World Cultures and Customs, 42.
  11. ^ Grant, P. (2005). Kimonos: the robes of Japan. Phoebe Grant’s Fascinating Stories of World Cultures and Customs, 42.
  12. ^ Grant, P. (2005). Kimonos: the robes of Japan. Phoebe Grant’s Fascinating Stories of World Cultures and Customs, 42.
  13. ^ Grant, P. (2005). Kimonos: the robes of Japan. Phoebe Grant’s Fascinating Stories of World Cultures and Customs, 42.
  14. ^ Grant, P. (2005). Kimonos: the robes of Japan. Phoebe Grant’s Fascinating Stories of World Cultures and Customs, 42.
  15. ^ Jackson, Anna. "Kimono: Fashioning Culture by Liza Dalby." Rev. of Kimono: Fashioning Culture. Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London 58 (1995): 419-20. JSTOR. Web. 6 Apr. 2015.
  16. ^ Goldstein-Gidoni, O. (1999). Kimono and the construction of gendered and cultural identities. Ethnology, 38 (4), 351-370.
  17. ^ Goldstein-Gidoni, O. (1999). Kimono and the construction of gendered and cultural identities. Ethnology, 38 (4), 351-370.
  18. ^ Ashikari, M. (2003). The memory of the women’s white faces: Japanese and the ideal image of women. Japan Forum, 15 (1), 55.
  19. ^ Jackson, Anna. "Kimono: Fashioning Culture by Liza Dalby." Rev. of Kimono: Fashioning Culture. Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London 58 (1995): 419-20. JSTOR. Web. 6 Apr. 2015.
  20. ^ Jackson, Anna. "Kimono: Fashioning Culture by Liza Dalby." Rev. of Kimono: Fashioning Culture. Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London 58 (1995): 419-20. JSTOR. Web. 6 Apr. 2015.
  21. ^ Jackson, Anna. "Kimono: Fashioning Culture by Liza Dalby." Rev. of Kimono: Fashioning Culture. Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London 58 (1995): 419-20. JSTOR. Web. 6 Apr. 2015.
  22. ^ Yamaka, Norio. (Nov 9 2012) The Book of Kimono.
  23. ^ Yamaka, Norio. (Nov 9 2012) The Book of Kimono.
  24. ^ Yamaka, Norio. (Nov 9 2012) The Book of Kimono.
  25. ^ Jackson, Anna. "Kimono: Fashioning Culture by Liza Dalby." Rev. of Kimono: Fashioning Culture. Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London 58 (1995): 419-20. JSTOR. Web. 6 Apr. 2015.
  26. ^ Nakagawa, K. Rosovsky, H. (1963). The case of the dying kimono: the influence of changing fashions on the development of the Japanese woolen industry. The Business History Review, 37 (1/2), 59-68
  27. ^ Nakagawa, K. Rosovsky, H. (1963). The case of the dying kimono: the influence of changing fashions on the development of the Japanese woolen industry. The Business History Review, 37 (1/2), 59-68
  28. ^ Jackson, Anna. "Kimono: Fashioning Culture by Liza Dalby." Rev. of Kimono: Fashioning Culture. Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London 58 (1995): 419-20. JSTOR. Web. 6 Apr. 2015.
  29. ^ Jackson, Anna. "Kimono: Fashioning Culture by Liza Dalby." Rev. of Kimono: Fashioning Culture. Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London 58 (1995): 419-20. JSTOR. Web. 6 Apr. 2015.
  30. ^ Nakagawa, K. Rosovsky, H. (1963). The case of the dying kimono: the influence of changing fashions on the development of the Japanese woolen industry. The Business History Review, 37 (1/2), 59-68
  31. ^ Yamaka, Norio. (Nov 9 2012) The Book of Kimono.
  32. ^ Yamaka, Norio. (Nov 9 2012) The Book of Kimono.
  33. ^ Yamaka, Norio. (Nov 9 2012) The Book of Kimono.
  34. ^ Yamaka, Norio. (Nov 9 2012) The Book of Kimono.
  1. Ashikari, M. (2003). The memory of the women’s white faces: Japanese and the ideal image of women. Japan Forum, 15 (1), 55.
  2. Goldstein-Gidoni, O. (1999). Kimono and the construction of gendered and cultural identities. Ethnology, 38 (4), 351-370.
  3. Grant, P. (2005). Kimonos: the robes of Japan. Phoebe Grant’s Fascinating Stories of World Cultures and Customs, 42.
  4. Jackson, Anna. "Kimono: Fashioning Culture by Liza Dalby." Rev. of Kimono: Fashioning Culture. Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London 58 (1995): 419-20. JSTOR. Web. 6 Apr. 2015.
  5. Nakagawa, K. Rosovsky, H. (1963). The case of the dying kimono: the influence of changing fashions on the development of the Japanese woolen industry. The Business History Review, 37 (1/2), 59-68

- Yamaka, Norio. (Nov 9 2012) The Book of Kimono.

-Dalby, Liza. (Mar 1995) Kimono: Fashioning Culture.

External links[edit]