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A traditional wedding kimono with tsunokakushi (wedding headpiece)
Kimono (Chinese characters).svg
"Kimono" in kanji
Japanese name
A traditional red Uchikake kimono with cranes
Woman in kimono at Fukuoka City Hall.

The kimono (, ) is a traditional Japanese garment. The word kimono literally means ki (?, "wearing", specifically on the upper body) + mono (?, "thing").[1][2][3]

Over time, the kimono has come to be a T-shaped wrapped garment with set sleeve lengths, variations and a set way of construction. The plural of kimono is kimono, as Japanese does not distinguish plural nouns, though the English plural kimonos is also used. Kimono are often worn for important public holidays and festivals, and for formal occasions such as weddings and funerals.

The kimono is usually worn ankle-length, though women's kimono are longer as their kimono are folded at the hip. The collar is attached flatly, and always worn left over right (unless the person wearing the kimono is deceased).[4] The kimono's sleeves reach the wrist, and variations of kimono may have sleeves long enough to touch the ground.

Kimono are tied with a sash called an obi, knotted at the back, though it is a series of ties called koshihimo ('waist cord/wrap') that actually keep kimono closed, as modern obi are too stiff to keep kimono in place. The obi is tied in a knot known as a musubi at the back, and there are many varieties of musubi based on formality, obi type and age. Kimono are generally worn with traditional footwear such as z?ri or geta, and split-toed socks called tabi.

Today, kimono are most often worn by women, particularly on special occasions. Unmarried women traditionally wore furisode ('swinging sleeve') kimono, with almost floor-length sleeves, on special occasions, though even their casual kimono would have longer sleeves with rounded edges at the front. In modern times, a woman generally only wears furisode to special occasions, and stops wearing furisode in her early 20s, married or not. Men wear the kimono most often at weddings, tea ceremonies, and other very special or very formal occasions.

The people who tend to wear kimono the most on a daily basis are older men and women, geisha, and sumo wrestlers, the last being required to wear traditional Japanese dress whenever appearing in public.[5]


Japanese dress under the Korean influence with a distinctive overlapping collar.[6] (Takamatsuzuka Tomb, 7th century)
Stylized Kimono in the late Heian period. A few centuries after Japan demolished connections with China.[7](The Tale of Genji, 12th century)
Kosode, the undershirt transformed into outer garment after Muromachi period. (Matsuura by?bu, 17th century)
The overall silhouette transformed due to the evolution of obi, sleeves, and the layering of heavy fabrics. (Utagawa Kuniyoshi, Plum Blossoms at Night, woodblock print, 19th century)

Chinese fashion had a huge influence on Japan from the Kofun period to the early Heian period as a result of mass immigration from the continent and a Japanese envoy to the Tang dynasty. There is an opinion that Kimono was basically derived from the Chinese clothing[8][9] in the Wu region. During Japan's Heian period (794-1192 AD), the kimono became increasingly stylized, though one still wore a half-apron, called a mo, over it.[10] During the Muromachi age (1336-1573 AD), the Kosode, a single kimono formerly considered underwear, began to be worn without the hakama (trousers, divided skirt) over it, and thus began to be held closed by an obi "belt".[10] During the Edo period (1603-1867 AD), the sleeves began to grow in length, especially among unmarried women, and the Obi became wider, with various styles of tying coming into fashion.[10] Since then, the basic shape of both the men's and women's kimono has remained essentially unchanged. Kimonos made with exceptional skill from fine materials have been regarded as great works of art.[10]

The formal kimono was replaced by the more convenient Western clothes and yukata as everyday wear. After an edict by Emperor Meiji,[11] police, railroad men and teachers moved to Western clothes. The Japanese began shedding kimonos in favor of Western dress in the 1870s. The Western clothes became the army and school uniform for boys. After the 1923 Great Kant? earthquake, kimono wearers often became victims of robbery because they could not run very fast due to the restricting nature of the kimono on the body and geta clogs. Also, kimono produced by traditional methods have become too expensive for the average family. A common price for a kimono- and-obi ensemble is over $1,000, according to the Tokyo Wholesalers Association. Many cost far more. Even on some special occasions such as wedding day, an elaborate kimono is de rigueur, most people choose to rent one.[12] The Tokyo Women's & Children's Wear Manufacturers' Association () promoted Western clothes. Between 1920 and 1930 the sailor outfit replaced the undivided hakama in school uniforms for girls.[13] The national uniform, Kokumin-fuku, a type of Western clothes, was mandated for males in 1940.[14][15][16] Today most people wear Western clothes and wear the breezier and more comfortable yukata for special occasions.

In the Western world, kimono-styled women's jackets, similar to a casual cardigan,[17] gained public attention as a popular fashion item in 2014.[18] Kimonos are also worn on special occasions such as coming of age ceremonies and many other traditional Japanese events.

In 2019, the mayor of Kyoto announced that his staff were working to register "Kimono Culture" on UNESCO's intangible cultural heritage list.[19]

Textiles and construction of kimono

A child wearing a furisode kimono in full formal dress

Over time, the proportions of kimono have evolved differently for men and women. Men's kimono should fall approximately to the ankle, with no hip fold - the ohashori. A woman's kimono, however, should be as tall as she is, in order to allow the correct length for the ohashori to be formed. An ideally tailored kimono has sleeves that fall to the wrist when the arms are lowered; however, in informal situations, this is not strictly necessary, and indeed, kimono are worn casually by some women without the ohashori.[]

Kimono textiles can to be classified into two categories: Gofuku(), which indicates silk textiles in general, for luxuries and cotton/hemp Futomono() for everyday wear. Gofuku was named after ? (Wú) in ancient China, where the technology of silk fabrics originated from. Cotton clothing is called Momenfuku () whereas hemp clothing is called Asafuku () in Japanese. Cotton/hemp fabrics are generally called as Futomono (, Thick materials) as the fiber of these materials are thicker compared to that of silk. Till the end of the Edo period, tailoring of these fabrics were handled respectively at Gofuku store (Gofuku Dana) and Futomono stores (Futomono Dana), however, after the Meiji period, kimono was not worn as daily wear very often and Futomono stores eventually went out of business.[]

Kimono are traditional made from a single bolt of fabric called a tanmono, which varies in size and shape for both men and women. Tanmono are roughly 36 cm wide and 11.5m long for women[10], and the entire bolt is used to make one kimono. Some men's tanmono are woven especially long to include enough fabric for a haori, juban and kimono as well, as men's kimono can come in matching sets of the same fabric and colour.

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 the collar. Children's kimono commonly consist of just three main panels, as only one width of fabric is needed for the body.[10]

Historically, kimono were often taken apart for washing in separate panels, and were resewn by hand. Because of the standardised method of construction, and the fact that no fabric is wasted, the kimono can easily be retailored to fit the changing body, or indeed another person.[10]

The maximum width of the sleeve is dictated by the width of the fabric. The distance from the center of the spine to the end of the sleeve could not exceed twice the width of the fabric. Traditional kimono fabric was typically no more than 36 centimeters (14 inches) wide. Thus the distance from spine to wrist could not exceed a maximum of roughly 68 centimeters (27 inches). Modern kimono fabric is woven as wide as 42 centimeters (17 inches) to accommodate modern Japanese body sizes. Very tall or heavy people, such as sumo wrestlers, must have kimonos custom-made by either joining multiple bolts, weaving custom-width fabric, or using non-standard size fabric.[20]

Traditionally, kimono are sewn by hand; even machine-made kimono require substantial hand-stitching. Kimono fabrics are frequently hand-made and -decorated. Techniques such as y?zen dye resist are used for applying decoration and patterns to the base cloth. Repeating patterns that cover a large area of a kimono are traditionally done with the y?zen resist technique and a stencil. Over time there have been many variations in color, fabric, and style, as well as accessories such as the obi.

The kimono and obi are traditionally made of hemp, linen, silk, silk brocade, silk crepes (such as chirimen) and satin weaves (such as rinzu). Modern kimonos are widely available in less-expensive easy-care fabrics such as rayon, cotton sateen, cotton, polyester and other synthetic fibers. Silk is still considered the ideal fabric.

Girls in kimono

Customarily, woven patterns and dyed repeat patterns are considered informal. Formal kimonos have free-style designs dyed over the whole surface or along the hem.[10] During the Heian period, kimonos were worn with up to a dozen or more colorful contrasting layers, with each combination of colors being a named pattern.[10] Today, the kimono is normally worn with a single layer on top of one or more undergarments.

The pattern of the kimono can determine in which season it should be worn. For example, a pattern with butterflies or cherry blossoms would be worn in spring. Watery designs are common during the summer. A popular autumn motif is the russet leaf of the Japanese maple; for winter, designs may include bamboo, pine trees and plum blossoms.

A popular form of textile art in Japan is shibori (intricate tie dye), found on some of the more expensive kimonos and haori kimono jackets. Patterns are created by minutely binding the fabric and masking off areas, then dying it, usually by hand. When the bindings are removed, an undyed pattern is revealed. Shibori work can be further enhanced with yuzen (hand applied) drawing or painting with textile dyes or with embroidery; it is then known as tsujigahana. Shibori textiles are very time-consuming to produce and require great skill, so the textiles and garments created from them are very expensive and highly prized.

Old kimono have historically been recycled in various ways, depending on the type of kimono and its original use. Kimono were shortened, with the okumi taken off and the collar re-sewn, to make haori, or would simply be cut at the waist to create a side-tying jacket. After marriage or a certain age, young women would shorten the sleeves of their kimono, and extra material taken from kimono could be used to lengthen it at the waist, create an obi, or was used to patch similar kimono.[]

Kimono were also used to create dounuki, underkimono worn on top of the juban, and the material would show at the sleeve, hem and collar. Kimono were also used to create juban themselves, and after wearing layered kimono fell out of fashion, create a false underlayer - a hiyoku - was another use for old kimono. They could also be resewn into kimono for children.[]

Historically, skilled craftsmen would laboriously cut old silk kimono into strips roughly 1 cm wide to weave into obi, called saki-ori obi. The technique was a kind of rag-weaving, creating a mostly one-sided obi that was relatively narrow and informal. Saki-ori obi are prized for their craftsmanship and rustic quality today, as they would have taken many hours to create, and saki-ori obi often feature patterns of stripes, checks and arrows. The technique is kept alive to this day by craftspeople interested in rustic arts.[]


Diagram of the kimono parts

These terms refer to parts of a kimono:

  • D?ura (): upper lining on a woman's kimono.
  • Eri (?): collar.
  • Fuki (?): hem guard.
  • Furi (?): sleeve below the armhole.
  • Obi (?): a belt used to tuck excess cloth away from the seeing public.
  • Maemigoro (): front main panel, excluding sleeves. The covering portion of the other side of the back, maemigoro is divided into "right maemigoro" and "left maemigoro".
  • Miyatsukuchi (?): opening under the sleeve.
  • Okumi (?): front inside panel on the front edge of the left and right, excluding the sleeve of a kimono. Until the collar, down to the bottom of the dress goes, up and down part of the strip of cloth. Have sewn the front body. It is also called "?".
  • Sode (?): sleeve.[10]
  • Sodeguchi (): sleeve opening.
  • Sodetsuke (): kimono armhole.
  • Susomawashi (): lower lining.
  • Tamoto (?): sleeve pouch.
  • Tomoeri (): over-collar (collar protector).
  • Uraeri (): inner collar.
  • Ushiromigoro (): back main panel, excluding sleeves, covering the back portion. They are basically sewn back-centered and consist of "right ushiromigoro" and "left ushiromigoro", but for wool fabric, the ushiromigoro consists of one piece.


A modern second-hand kimono shop

A brand-new women's kimono may easily exceed US$10,000;[21] a complete outfit, with kimono, undergarments, obi, socks, shoes and accessories can easily exceed US$20,000, with a single brand-new obi costing upwards of several thousand dollars.

However, most kimono owned by kimono hobbyists or practitioners of the traditional arts are far less expensive. Cheaper and synthetic fabrics can substitute for traditional hand-dyed silk, and modern-day brand-new synthetic kimono are sold as 'washable' and easy to care for. Some people make their own kimono, as kimono do not require a paper pattern or extensive fitting to sew, and can be made of whatever fabrics the owner wants.

Many kimono are also bought second-hand from vintage stores, a lucrative business in Japan, as kimono do not go out of fashion, though certain motifs and colours can be attributed to different eras.[22] These can cost as little as ¥100 (about $0.9) at thrift stores in the Tokyo area, and the Nishijin district of Kyoto is also known for its pre-loved kimono markets. Even antique obi can retail cheaply, though they can be stained and fragile. Women's obi, however, mostly remain an expensive item; though simply-patterned or relatively plain obi can retail second-hand for as little as ¥500 (about $4.5), even a used, well-kept and high-quality obi can cost upwards of $300, as they are often decorated with embroidery, goldwork and hand-painted by craftsmen. Men's obi, even those made from silk, tend to be much less expensive, as they are narrower, shorter and less decorative than those worn by women.


Kimonos range from extremely formal to casual. The level of formality of women's kimono is determined mostly by the pattern of the fabric, and color. Young women's kimonos have longer sleeves, signifying that they are not married, and tend to be more elaborate than similarly formal older women's kimono.[10] Men's kimonos are usually one basic shape and are mainly worn in subdued colors. Formality is also determined by the type and color of accessories, the fabric, and the number or absence of kamon (family crests), with five crests signifying extreme formality.[10] Silk is the most desirable, and most formal, fabric. Kimonos made of fabrics such as cotton and polyester generally reflect a more casual style.

Women's kimono

The typical woman's kimono outfit consists of twelve or more separate pieces that are worn, matched, and secured in prescribed ways, and the assistance of licensed professional kimono dressers may be required. Called upon mostly for special occasions, kimono dressers both work out of hair salons and make house calls.

Choosing an appropriate type of kimono requires knowledge of the garment's symbolism and subtle social messages, reflecting the woman's age, marital status, and the level of formality of the occasion.

Haruyo Morita ( Morita Haruyo) served mandatory apprenticeships studying and working as a kimono painter and designer until 1972 when she began paintings of women wearing beautiful traditional kimonos, sometimes in imagined settings, which became her signature style of art.


Yukata () A Japanese garment, a casual summer kimono, usually made of cotton or synthetic fabric, and unlined.


A young woman wearing a furisode kimono

Furisode () literally translates as swinging sleeves---the sleeves of furisode average between 39 and 42 inches (110 cm) in length. Furisode are the most formal kimono for unmarried women, with colorful patterns that cover the entire garment. They are usually worn at coming-of-age ceremonies (seijin shiki) and by unmarried female relatives of the bride at weddings and wedding receptions.


H?mongi () literally translates as visiting wear. Characterized by patterns that flow over the shoulders, seams and sleeves, h?mongi rank slightly higher than their close relative, the tsukesage. H?mongi may be worn by both married and unmarried women; often friends of the bride will wear h?mongi at weddings (except relatives) and receptions. They may also be worn to formal parties.

Pongee H?mongi were made to promote kimono after WWII. Since Pongee H?mongi are made from Pongee, they are considered casual wear.


Iromuji () are colored kimono that may be worn by married and unmarried women. They are mainly worn to tea ceremonies. The dyed silk may be figured (rinzu, similar to jacquard), but has no differently colored patterns. It comes from the word "muji" which means plain or solid and "iro" which means color.

Edo komon

Edo komon (?) is a type of komon characterized by tiny dots arranged in dense patterns that form larger designs. The Edo komon dyeing technique originated with the samurai class during the Edo period. A kimono with this type of pattern is of the same formality as an iromuji, and when decorated with kamon, may be worn as visiting wear (equivalent to a tsukesage or h?mongi).


Mofuku () is formal mourning dress for men or women. Both men and women wear kimono of plain black silk with five kamon over white undergarments and white tabi. For women, the obi and all accessories are also black. Men wear a subdued obi and black and white or black and gray striped hakama with black or white z?ri.

The completely black mourning ensemble is usually reserved for family and others who are close to the deceased.


Tomesode () is formal kimono for married woman. The feature of it is the short sleeve, the traditional main color of body is black, the lap of kimono has some simple pattern and elegant color. 'Tomesode' also has a family token and is usually used for wedding party of relatives.


Irotomesode () is single-color kimono, patterned only below the waistline. Irotomesode with five family crests are the same as formal as kurotomesode, and are worn by married and unmarried women, usually close relatives of the bride and groom at weddings and a medal ceremony at the royal court. An irotomesode may have three or one kamon. Those use as a semi-formal kimono at a party and conferment.


Kurotomesode () is a black kimono patterned only below the waistline. They are the most formal kimono for married women. They are often worn by the mothers of the bride and groom at weddings. Kurotomesode usually have five kamon printed on the sleeves, chest and back of the kimono.


Tsukesage (?) has more modest patterns that cover a smaller area--mainly below the waist--than the more formal h?mongi. They may also be worn by married women. The differences from homongi is the size of the pattern, seam connection, and not same clothes at inside and outside at hakke As demitoilet, not used in important occasion, but light patterned homongi is more highly rated than classic patterned tsukesage. General tsukesage is often used for parties, not ceremonies.


A traditional red Uchikake kimono

Uchikake (?) is a highly formal kimono worn only by a bride or at a stage performance. The uchikake is often heavily brocaded and is supposed to be worn outside the actual kimono and obi, as a sort of coat. One therefore never ties the obi around the uchikake. It is supposed to trail along the floor, this is also why it is heavily padded along the hem. The uchikake of the bridal costume is either white or very colorful often with red as the base colour.


Japanese formal wedding kimono, a shiromuku, still used today.

Shiromuku (, lit. "white pure-innocence") is a traditional, huge, thick, heavy, formal, ornate, brocaded, pure-white-on-white kimono, worn by the bride for a traditional Japanese Shinto wedding ceremony; a Japanese Shinto wedding dress. Comparable to a uchikake and sometimes described as just a white uchikake; a shiromuku kimono is worn for the formal solemn ceremony, symbolizing the purity and maidenhood of the bride coming into the marriage. The bride may change into a red kimono for the events after the ceremony for good luck. A shiromuku will also come with matching accessories, such as kanzashi, a sensu (see below), etc. Due to the expense of making a shiromuku, few own, or are likely to buy, a brand-new shiromuku kimono (those who do already own one are likely to have inherited it from close family elders); it is not unusual to rent kimono, shiromuku in particular, for special occasions; and indeed Shinto shrines are known to keep and rent-out such shiromuku kimono heirlooms for traditional weddings.

Worn with the shiromuku is a headdress called a tsunokakushi (, lit. "horn-hiding"), a headdress made from a rectangular piece of cloth, often made of white silk (to match the bride's shiromuku kimono), which covers the bridal high topknot (a Bunkin Takashimada), a kind of chonmage (a traditional topknot); they're traditionally worn to veil the bride's metaphorical 'horns of jealousy, ego and selfishness', and also symbolizes the bride's resolve to become a gentle and obedient wife. Alternately, the bride can wear a wataboshi (, lit. "cotton hood"), an all-white hood or cowl, worn as an alternative to the tsunokakushi, and the Japanese equivalent to the Western marriage ceremony's bridal veil; its purpose is to hide the bride's face from all others, except for the bridegroom, until the end of the wedding ceremony. It was adapted from the katsuki, a hood worn outdoors to keep away dust and prevent from the cold, by married women in samurai families, from the Muromachi to Momoyama periods, before being taken up by younger women from the Edo period onwards. Like the shiromuku its worn in concert with, the wataboshi is a symbol of innocence and purity; its worn only outside in outdoor receptions with the shiromuku-only, not with coloured wedding iro-uchikake kimono, or during indoor receptions.

Susohiki / Hikizuri

The susohiki is usually worn by geisha or by stage performers of the traditional Japanese dance. It is quite long, compared to regular kimono, because the skirt is supposed to trail along the floor. Susohiki literally means "trail the skirt". Where a normal kimono for women is normally 1.5-1.6 m (4.9-5.2 ft) long, a susohiki can be up to 2 m (6.6 ft) long. This is also why geisha and maiko lift their kimono skirt when walking outside, also to show their underkimono or "nagajuban" (see below).[23]

Hikizuri are also sewn differently to normal kimono, owing to the way that they are worn.[24] The collar on a hikizuri is sewn further back into the neck, so that it can be pulled down lower without upsetting the line of the kimono; general tradition states that a young, unmarried woman wears her kimono collar a fist-size down from the nape of the neck, but hikizuri are pulled down much further than this, and the collar must be adjusted for this reason.

So that the underarm does not show when the collar is pulled down, the sleeves are set unevenly onto the body. The seam between the shoulder and the sleeve runs longer down the front than it does the back. When hikizuri are worn, the kimono is pulled up from the floor to the body diagonally, instead of keeping the side seams straight [note 1] - this emphasises the hips and helps the kimono to trail nicely on the floor. Because of this, the ohashori is tied unevenly, being longer at the back than the front, though it is usually tied up into the obi, and therefore not visible.


A woman modeling a j?nihitoe

J?nihitoe () is an extremely elegant and highly complex kimono that was only worn by Japanese court-ladies. The j?nihitoe consist of various layers which are silk garments, with the innermost garment being made of white silk. The total weight of the j?nihitoe could add up to 20 kilograms. An important accessory was an elaborate fan, which could be tied together by a rope when folded. Today, the j?nihitoe can only be seen in museums, movies, costume demonstrations, tourist attractions or at certain festivals. These robes are one of the most expensive items of Japanese clothing. Only the Imperial Household still officially uses them at some important functions.

Men's kimono

Couple being married in traditional dress

In contrast to women's kimono, men's kimono outfits are far simpler, typically consisting of five pieces, not including footwear.

Men's kimono sleeves are attached to the body of the kimono with no more than a few inches unattached at the bottom, unlike the women's style of very deep sleeves mostly unattached from the body of the kimono. Men's sleeves are less deep than women's kimono sleeves to accommodate the obi around the waist beneath them, whereas on a woman's kimono, the long, unattached bottom of the sleeve can hang over the obi without getting in the way.

Jinbaori - Kimono tabards for armoured Samurai

In the modern era, the principal distinctions between men's kimono are in the fabric. The typical men's kimono is a subdued, dark color; black, dark blues, greens, and browns are common. Fabrics are usually matte. Some have a subtle pattern, and textured fabrics are common in more casual kimono. More casual kimono may be made in slightly brighter colors, such as lighter purples, greens and blues. Sumo wrestlers have occasionally been known to wear quite bright colors such as fuchsia.

The most formal style of kimono is plain black silk with five kamon on the chest, shoulders and back. Slightly less formal is the three-kamon kimono.

Accessories and related garments

Miko perform Shinto ceremony, wearing chihaya.
Chihaya (?)
A kind of ceremonial overcoat with a long white hem, worn by Kannushi, Miko, the sweeper or branch-holder, in certain Shinto shrine ceremonies.
A traditional silk datejime with stiffer middle and softer ends
Datejime (?) or datemaki (?)
A wide undersash used to tie the nagajuban and the outer kimono and hold them in place.
F? ()
A fur collar, boa or stole (usually white) worn by women over a kimono; usually on furisode by young women out celebrating their Coming of Age at shrines, etc.
Geta ()
Wooden sandals worn by men and women with yukata. One unique style is worn solely by geisha (see okobo below). There are also Hiyori geta / Masa geta, Taka-ashida geta, Ippon geta / Tengu geta, Pokkuri geta.
Hachimaki ()
Traditional Japanese stylized headband, worn to keep sweat off of one's face, and as a symbol of effort or courage by the wearer, especially by those in the military.
Women at a graduation ceremony, featuring hakama with embroidered flowers, and demonstrating the waistline
Hakama (?)
A divided (umanori-bakama) or undivided skirt (andon-bakama) which resembles a wide pair of trousers, traditionally worn by men but contemporarily also by women in less formal situations. A hakama typically is pleated and fastened by ribbons, tied around the waist over the obi. Men's hakama also have a koshi ita, which is a stiff or padded part in the lower back of the wearer. Hakama are worn in several budo arts such as aikido, kendo, iaid? and naginata. Hakama are often worn by women at college graduation ceremonies, and by Miko on shinto shrines. Depending on the pattern and material, hakama can range from very formal to visiting wear.
Hakama Boots (?)
A pair of boots (leather or faux leather), with low-to-mid heels, worn with a pair of hakama (a pair of traditional Japanese trousers); boots are a style of footwear that came in from the West during the Meiji Era; worn by women while wearing a hakama, optional footwear worn by young women, students and teachers at high-school and university graduation ceremonies, and by young women out celebrating their Coming of Age at shrines, etc., often with a hakama with furisode combination.
Hakoseko (, lit. "boxy narrow thing")
A small box-shaped billfold accessory; sometimes covered in materials to coordinate with the wearer's kimono or obi. Fastened closed with a cord, and carried tucked-within a person's futokoro, the space within the front of kimono collar and above the obi. Used for formal occasions that require traditional dress, such as a traditional Shinto wedding or a child's Shichi-Go-San ceremony. Originally used for practical uses, such as carrying around a woman's beni ita (lipstick), omamori (an amulet/talisman), kagami (mirror), tenugui (handkerchief), coins, and the like, it now has a more of a decorative role.
Hanten (, lit. "half-wrap")
The worker's version of the more formal haori. As winterwear, it is often padded for warmth, giving it insulating properties, as opposed to the somewhat lighter happi. It could be worn outside in the wintertime by fieldworkers out working in the fields, by people at home as a housecoat or a cardigan, and even slept-in over one's bedclothes.
Haori ()
A hip- or thigh-length kimono-like overcoat of varied length, which adds formality to an outfit. Haori were originally worn only by men, until it became a fashion for women in the Meiji period. They are now worn by both men and women. The jinbaori () was specifically made for armoured samurai to wear.
Haori-himo ()
A tasseled, woven string fastener for haori. The most formal color is white (see also fusa above).
Happi ()
A type of haori traditionally worn by shop keepers, sometimes uniform between the helpers of a shop (not unlike a propaganda kimono, but for advertising business), and is now associated mostly with festivals.
Haramaki (, lit. "belly wrap")
Are items of Japanese clothing that cover the stomach. They are worn for health, fashion and superstitious reasons.
Hifu ()
Originally a kind of padded over-kimono for warmth, this has evolved into a sleeveless over-kimono like a padded outer vest or pinafore (also similar to a sweater vest or gilet), worn primarily by girls on formal outings such as the Shichi-Go-San (literally "seven-five-three") ceremony for children aged seven, five, and three.
Hiyoku () or hiyoku-jitate ()
An extra layer added around the edges of the collar, hem, and sleeves to make it seem like a double-layered kimono, without the weight of actually wearing a double layer. Typically worn by women on formal occasions such as weddings and other important social events.
Jika-tabi (?)
A modification of the usual split-toe tabi sock design for use as a shoe, complete with rubber sole. Invented in the early 20th century.
Jinbei ()
Traditional Japanese loose-woven two-piece clothing, consisting of a robe-like top and shorts below the waist. Worn by men, women, boys, girls, and even babies, during the hot, humid summer season, in lieu of kimono.
Juban () and Hadajuban ()
A thin garment similar to an undershirt. It is worn under the nagajuban.[26][27]
Jittoku ()
Sometimes called a jittoku haori (?), is a type of haori worn only by men. Jittoku are made of unlined silk gauze. The garment falls to the hip, and has sewn himo cords made of the same fabric as the main garment. While a haori has a small sleeve opening like that of a kimono, a jittoku is fully open at the wrist side. Jittoku originated in the Kamakura period (1185-1333 CE), and in the modern day they are worn without hakama, mainly by male practitioners of tea ceremony who have achieved a sufficiently high rank.
Gold plated brass prong kanzashi. Period unknown.
Kanzashi (?, lit. "hairpin")
Hair ornaments worn by women. Many different styles exist, including silk flowers, wooden combs, and jade hairpins. A smaller version can be paired inter-changeably with a hakoseko, a traditional Japanese clutch-purse.
Kapp?gi (, lit. "cooking wear")
A type of gown-like apron; first designed to protect kimono from food stains, it has baggy sleeves, is as long as the wearer's knees, and fastens with strips of cloth ties that are tied at the back of the neck and the waist. Particularly used when cooking and cleaning, it is worn by Japanese housewives, lunch ladies, cleaners, etc.
Kasa (?)
A traditional Japanese oil-paper umbrella/parasol, ideal as an outdoor accessory, come rain or shine. See also Gifu umbrellas.
Kinchaku ()
A traditional Japanese drawstring bag or pouch, worn like a purse or handbag (vaguely similar to the English reticule), for carrying around personal possessions (money, etc.). A kind of sagemono (see below).
Kimono slip (, kimono surippu)
[28] The susoyoke and hadajuban combined into a one-piece garment.[29][30]
Koshihimo (, lit. "hip cord")
A narrow sash used to aid in dressing up, often made of silk or wool. They are used to hold virtually anything (i.e. a yukata) in place during the process of dressing up, and can be used in many ways depending on what is worn.
Kosode (, lit. "small sleeve")
A basic Japanese robe for both men and women. It is worn as both an undergarment and overgarment. It can also double as a sleeping yukata, and as a hadajuban (see above).
Michiyuki ()
A traditional Japanese overcoat (not to be confused with a haori or a hifu), characterised with a signature square neckline (for showing-off the multiple-collars of the kimono worn beneath), and for duel-fastenings (either tie, snap or button closures). It is worn over the kimono for warmth and protection while outdoors on day-outings and long-distance journeys, as a casual housecoat or coatdress in winter, and as an artist's work smock, apron, pinafore, overalls or a tunic), perfect for art-studio and garden tasks. Some michiyuki will include a hidden pocket beneath the front panel. Although historically there are versions for men, most modern michiyuki are made for women. There is no standard length, and some can be as long as the kimono-itself worn beneath it, which is more common for the style of michiyuki that are designed as rainwear.
Nagajuban (, lit. "long underwear")
A long under-kimono worn by both men and women beneath the main outer garment.[31] Since silk kimono are delicate and difficult to clean, the nagajuban helps to keep the outer kimono clean by preventing contact with the wearer's skin. Only the collar edge of the nagajuban shows from beneath the outer kimono.[32] Many nagajuban have removable collars, to allow them to be changed to match the outer garment, and to be easily washed without washing the entire garment. They are often as beautifully ornate and patterned as the outer kimono. Since men's kimono are usually fairly subdued in pattern and color, the nagajuban allows for discreetly wearing very striking designs and colours.[33] Often worn over a hadajuban (see above).
Nemaki ()
Japanese nightclothes.
Back of a woman wearing a kimono with the obi sash tied in the tateya musubi style
Obi (?)
The tie belt, sash or wrap for traditional Japanese dress, keikogi (uniforms for Japanese martial arts), and part of kimono outfits. The formal ones worn with women's' kimono can be 30 centimetres (12 in') wide and more than 4 metres (13 ft.) long, and include some of the most elaborate and conspicuous features of her attire, more-so than the kimono-itself, as they can be tied into variously-named decorative Musubi () (lit. "knot"). A koshihimo can also count as a obi (albeit a simple one).
Obi-age ()
The scarf-like sash, often silk, which is knotted and tied above the obi and tucked into the top of the obi, to hide the obi-makura. Worn with the more formal varieties of kimono, and serves as decorates the top part of an obi belt; there are many types and designs: shibori, embroidered, etc.; although you can only see a little bit of it, it has an important role as a decoration, and there are different styles of tucking it in and is often more visible with furisode kimono. Used for tying more complex bows with the obi.
Obi-dome ()
A decorative fastening accessory piece, strung onto the obijime.
Obi-ita ()
A thin stiff board that goes over the datejime and helps keep an obi in place and prevent it from getting wrinkled. It is worn underneath the second layer of the obi, after wrapping around the body twice. Modern versions have an elastic band or string, so it can be put on before the obi.
Obijime ()
The colourful, decorative ropes, cords or strings, used to assist in tying more complex bows with the obi and hold an obi belt in place and helps it keep its shape; also serves as a decoration around the obi belt. It ties in a knot in the front in the middle of the obi, and the ends are tucked into the sides of itself. An ojime (see below) was used to fasten the obijime in place (similar to a netsuke), and also serves as a decoration.
Obi-makura ()
Padding used to put volume under the obi knot (musubi); to support the bows or ties at the back of the obi and keep them lifted. It's essential for placing the common Taiko knot high on the back. Obimakura is usually covered by the obiage to hide it and make the entire tie more presentable.
Ojime ()
A type of bead which originated in Japan, and were used to fasten a obijime in place, like a cordlock. They were also worn between the inr? and netsuke and are typically under an inch in length. Each is carved into a particular shape and image, similar to the netsuke cordlock, though smaller. Similar to a netsuke (see above).
Okobo ()
Wooden platform sandals worn by maiko (apprentice geisha) during their apprenticeship, and by children for the Shichi-go-san ceremony.
Samue ()
The everyday clothes for a male Zen Buddhist lay-monk, and the favoured garment for shakuhachi players.
Sensu ()
A handheld fan (either an ?gi (?) or an uchiwa ()), generally of thick paper coated in paint, lacquer or gold leaf, with wooden spines, often lacquered. As well as being used for cooling-off, sensu fans are used as dancing props and to maintain makeup and are kept in the folds of the obi.
Setta ()
A flat, thick-bottomed sandal made of bamboo and straw with leather soles, and with metal spikes protruding from the heel of the sole to prevent slipping on ice.
Suikan ()
A kind of a tunic, an informal garment worn by males of the Japanese nobility and officials (similar to a kariginu).
Susoyoke ()
A thin half-slip-like piece of underwear, like a petticoat, worn by women under their nagajuban.[26][34]
Suzu (?)
A round, hollow Japanese Shinto bell or chime, that contains pellets that sound when agitated. They are somewhat like a jingle bell in form, though the materials produce a coarse, rolling sound. Suzu come in many sizes, ranging from tiny ones on good luck charms (called omamori ()) to large ones at shrine entrances. As an accessory to kimono wear, suzu are often part of kanzashi.
Tabi ()
Ankle-high, divided-toe socks usually worn with z?ri or geta. There also exist sturdier, boot-like jikatabi, which are used for example to fieldwork.
Tasuki (?)
A pair sashes made from either cloth or cord that loops over each shoulder and crosses over the wearer's back, used for holding up the long sleeves of the Japanese kimono; the bottom of the kimono sleeves can then be tucked into the loop, so that they don't hang so low.
Tebukuro (, lit. "hand bag")
Gloves/Mittens or Muff (handwarmer).
Tenugui (, lit. "hand wiper")
A handy piece of fabric, usually cotton or linen, they can come in a wide variety of colours and patterns, and with a myriad amount of uses--but mostly as a handkerchief, a hand towel, and larger ones can even serve as a napkin, bib, headscarf/kerchief/bandana (or to ad-lib as a hachimaki), and can double as a furoshiki (a traditional Japanese wrapping cloth), and even a shawl or a baby sling.
Japanese bride in her tsunokakushi
Tsunokakushi (, lit. "horn-hiding")
A headdress worn in traditional Shinto wedding ceremonies in Japan: A tsunokakushi is a rectangular piece of cloth, often made of white silk (to match the bride's shiromuku kimono (see above)), which covers the bridal high topknot (a Bunkin Takashimada), a kind of chonmage (traditional topknot). According to a folk etymology, they're traditionally worn to veil the bride's horns of jealousy, ego and selfishness, and also symbolizes the bride's resolve to become a gentle and obedient wife. A tsunokakushi can be worn co-ordinated with kanzashi.
Uwabaki ()
Japanese slippers worn indoors at home, school or certain companies and public buildings where street shoes are prohibited.
Waraji ()
Traditional sandals made of straw rope and bamboo bark and designed to wrap securely around the wearer's foot and up around the ankle; mostly worn by monks, and others who often travelled long-distance by foot (traders and merchants, etc.).
Wata b?shi ()
Worn by brides at traditional Shinto weddings, this is an all-white hood, worn as an alternative to the Tsunokakushi. It was adapted from the katsuki, a hood worn outdoors to keep away dust and prevent from the cold, by married women in samurai families, from the Muromachi to Momoyama periods, and then from the Edo period onwards, this custom was taken up by younger women. Like the shiromuku that it is worn with, the wata b?shi is a symbol of innocence and purity; it is worn only outside in outdoor receptions with the shiromuku, not with coloured wedding iro-uchikake kimono, or during indoor receptions.
Women in yukata, from behind to show the obi and fans, in Tokyo, Japan
Yukata ()
An unlined kimono-like garment for summer use, usually made of cotton, linen, or hemp. Yukata are strictly informal, most often worn to outdoor festivals, by men and women of all ages. They are also worn at onsen (hot spring) resorts, where they are often provided for the guests in the resort's own pattern.
Yumoji ()
The traditional Japanese undergarment (like a loincloth or perizoma) for adult females; it may also be worn as a kimono underskirt, and as a single-layer absorbent bathrobe (worn during or after a bath).
Women's straw z?ri
Z?ri ()
Traditional sandals worn by both men and women, similar in design to flip-flops. Their formality ranges from strictly informal to fully formal. They are made of many materials, including cloth, leather, vinyl and woven grass, and can be highly decorated or very simple.


In modern-day Japan the meanings of the layering of kimono and hiyoku are usually forgotten. Only maiko and geisha now use this layering technique for dances and subtle erotic suggestion, usually emphasising the back of the neck. Modern Japanese brides may also wear a traditional Shinto bridal kimono which is worn with a hiyoku.

Traditionally kimono were worn with hiyoku or floating linings. Hiyoku can be a second kimono worn beneath the first and give the traditional layered look to the kimono. Often in modern kimono the hiyoku is simply the name for the double-sided lower half of the kimono which may be exposed to other eyes depending on how the kimono is worn.

Old-fashioned kimono styles meant that hiyoku were entire under-kimono, however modern day layers are usually only partial, to give the impression of layering.


How to fold a kimono

In the past, a kimono would often be entirely taken apart for washing, and then re-sewn for wearing.[10] This traditional washing method is called arai hari. Because the stitches must be taken out for washing, traditional kimono need to be hand sewn. Arai hari is very expensive and difficult and is one of the causes of the declining popularity of kimono. Modern fabrics and cleaning methods have been developed that eliminate this need, although the traditional washing of kimono is still practiced, especially for high-end garments.

New, custom-made kimono are generally delivered to a customer with long, loose basting stitches placed around the outside edges. These stitches are called shitsuke ito. They are sometimes replaced for storage. They help to prevent bunching, folding and wrinkling, and keep the kimono's layers in alignment.

Like many other traditional Japanese garments, there are specific ways to fold kimono. These methods help to preserve the garment and to keep it from creasing when stored. Kimonos are often stored wrapped in paper called tat?shi.

Kimono need to be aired out at least seasonally and before and after each time they are worn. Many people prefer to have their kimono dry cleaned. Although this can be extremely expensive, it is generally less expensive than arai hari but may be impossible for certain fabrics or dyes.

Commercial Appropriation

In June 2019, Kim Kardashian West launched a new range of shapewear called Kimono. West was heavily criticised over the name of the brand which critics argued disrespected Japanese culture and ignored the significance behind the traditional outfit. Following the launch of the range, the hashtag #KimOhNo began trending on Twitter and the mayor of Kyoto wrote to West to ask her to reconsider the trademark on Kimono. A petition was also created, which immediately began to receive global support. In response to public pressure, in July 2019, West announced that she would change the name.[19] However, as of August 4, 2019, the trademark filings remain active. The campaign to protect kimonos from appropriation is currently being supported on a pro bono basis by international Intellectual Property and Entertainment lawyer, Aaron Mollin.


  1. ^ Video reference showing Atami geisha Kyouma being dressed in hikizuri - the second video shows the difference between ohashori length at the front and back, and how it is tied into the obi so as to be not visible.[25]


  1. ^ 1988, () (Kokugo Dai Jiten, Revised Edition) (in Japanese), T?ky?: Shogakukan
  2. ^ 2006, (Daijirin), Third Edition (in Japanese), T?ky?: Sanseid?, ISBN 4-385-13905-9
  3. ^ 1995, (Daijisen) (in Japanese), T?ky?: Shogakukan, ISBN 4-09-501211-0
  4. ^ Hanami Web - Inside Japan. All rights reserved. "What Kimono Signifies". HanamiWeb. Retrieved .
  5. ^ Sharnoff, Lora (1993). Grand Sumo. Weatherhill. ISBN 0-8348-0283-X.
  6. ^ Jill Liddell (1989). The Story of the Kimono. E.P. Dutton, p. 28. ISBN 978-0525245742
  7. ^ Bardo Fassbender?Anne Peters?Simone Peter?Daniel Högger (2012). The Oxford Handbook of the History of International Law. Oxford University Press, p. 477. ISBN 978-0198725220
  8. ^ Elizabeth LaCouture, Journal of Design History, Vol. 30, Issue 3, 1 September 2017, Pages 300-314.
  9. ^ Liddell, Jill (1989), J. Liddell, The story of the kimono, EP Dutton New York, 1989, ISBN 9780525245742.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Cite error: The named reference Dalby was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  11. ^ 1871(5)?11?12399?
  12. ^ Cite error: The named reference :0 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  13. ^ [1] Archived July 23, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ :2010?11?25?. "". Archived from the original on 2008-06-16. Retrieved .
  15. ^ "?". Archived from the original on 2011-06-24. Retrieved .
  16. ^ "?". Archived from the original on 2011-06-24. Retrieved .
  17. ^ Ruddick, Graham (12 August 2014). "Rise of the kimono, the Japanese fashion taking Britain by storm". The Telegraph. Retrieved 2014.
  18. ^ Butler, Sarah; Moulds, Josephine; Cochrane, Lauren (12 August 2014). "Kimonos on a roll as high street sees broad appeal of Japanese garment". Retrieved 2014.
  19. ^ a b Ho, Vivian (2019-07-01). "#KimOhNo: Kim Kardashian West renames Kimono brand amid outcry". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved .
  20. ^ "?". 1999-02-22. Retrieved .
  21. ^ Hindell, Juliet (May 22, 1999). "World: Asia-Pacific Saving the kimono". BBC. Retrieved .
  22. ^ Tsuruoka, Hiroyuki. "The unspoiled market found by the lost office workers". Japan Business Press (in Japanese). Retrieved 2019.
  23. ^ Archived 2007-11-07 at the Wayback Machine
  24. ^ Coline, Youandi. "Are kimono and hikizuri the same?". Chayatsuji Kimono. Retrieved 2019.
  25. ^ "[Video from Atami Geigi Kenban on Instagram]" (in Japanese). 11 December 2018. Retrieved 2019.
  26. ^ a b Yamanaka, Norio (1982). The Book of Kimono. Tokyo; New York: Kodansha International, p. 60. ISBN 0-87011-500-6 (USA), ISBN 4-7700-0986-0 (Japan).
  27. ^ Underwear (Hadagi): Hada-Juban. KIDORAKU Japan. Accessed 22 October 2009.
  28. ^ A search for "". Rakuten. Accessed 22 October 2009.
  29. ^ Yamanaka, Norio (1982). The Book of Kimono. Tokyo; New York: Kodansha International, p. 76. ISBN 0-87011-500-6 (USA), ISBN 4-7700-0986-0 (Japan).
  30. ^ Underwear (Hadagi): Kimono Slip. KIDORAKU Japan. Accessed 22 October 2009.
  31. ^ Yamanaka, Norio (1982). The Book of Kimono. Tokyo; New York: Kodansha International, p. 61. ISBN 0-87011-500-6 (USA), ISBN 4-7700-0986-0 (Japan).
  32. ^ Nagajuban Archived 2008-08-30 at the Wayback Machine undergarment for Japanese kimono
  33. ^ Imperatore, Cheryl, & MacLardy, Paul (2001). Kimono Vanishing Tradition: Japanese Textiles of the 20th Century. Atglen, Penn.: Schiffer Publishing. Chap. 3 "Nagajuban--Undergarments", pp. 32-46. ISBN 0-7643-1228-6. OCLC 44868854.
  34. ^ Underwear (Hadagi): Susoyoke. KIDORAKU Japan. Accessed 22 October 2009.

Further reading

External links

Craft materials

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