The kosode (小袖) is a basic Japanese robe for both men and women. Worn as both an undergarment and overgarment, it is what most people imagine when using the much broader term kimono. The literal meaning of the term kosode is "small sleeve," which refers to the sleeve opening.
Kosode are T-shaped, have a looser fit than the Kimono and come in varying lengths. Kosode are worn with an obi (sash), that is considerably smaller than that of the modern Kimono. Often worn with hakama (pleated, divided skirt) for men or naga-bakama (very long hakama) for women, as in the case of the Miko.
Kosode evolved at some point in the late 14th century and replaced the many layered, unlined hirosodes. Over time kosode gradually developed into a wide variety of styles, with patterns and fabrics.
Parts of a Kosode
- Tokyo National Museum - an example of period clothing, including Kosode.
- The Tale of Genji Costume Museum - Includes period clothing, including Kosode.
- Kosode Made Simple
- Kyoto National Museum
2. Gluckman, Dale Carolyn, and Sharon Sadako Takeda, eds. When Art Became Fashion: Kosode in Edo-Period Japan. New York: Weatherhill, 1992.
3. Kennedy, Alan. Japanese Costume: History and Tradition. New York: Rizzoli, 1990.
4. Kosode: 16th–19th Century Textiles from the Nomura Collection. New York: Kodansha International, 1985.
- Momoyama, Japanese Art in the Age of Grandeur, an exhibition catalog from The Metropolitan Museum of Art (fully available online as PDF), which contains material on Kosode