March 2018

March, the spring time, and the topic usually related to Cherry Blossoms or Girls Day in Japan, but I’d like to talk little about history of Kimono this time.

Originally, "kimono" was the Japanese word for clothing. But in more recent years, the word has been used to refer specifically to traditional Japanese clothing.  Kimonos as we know them today came into being during the Heian period (794-1192).  During the Kamakura period (1192-1338) and the Muromachi period (1338-1573), both men and women wore brightly colored kimonos. Warriors dressed in colors representing their leaders, and sometimes the battlefield was as gaudy as a fashion show.
During the Edo period (1603-1868), the Tokugawa Shogun ruled over Japan.  The Edo period was one of unprecedented political stability, economic growth, and urban expansion.  Kimono makers got better and better at their craft, and kimono making grew into an art form.  During the Meiji period (1868-1912), Japan was heavily influenced by foreign cultures. The government encouraged people to adopt Western clothing and habits.

The Taishō period (1912-1926) was one of confidence and optimism in Japan.  Industrial development was stimulated by the First World War, economic prosperity being matched by political democratization. It was a period of great urban growth.  The traditional cut of Kimono remained the same, but the motifs were dramatically enlarged and new designs appeared, inspired by western styles such as Art Nouveau and Art Deco. Their striking patterns reflected the confident spirit of the age and provided an exuberant visual statement for the modern, independent, urban woman of the Taishō and early Shōwa periods (1926-1989).

Today, there are kimono made with beautiful modern fabrics can be seen increasingly on the streets of Japan, while second-hand kimono are becoming popular with the young, who often re-style them or combine them with other items of dress.  Antique kimono and obi are also showcased as art form to enjoy its beauty and tranquility at home.

Stays warm everyone; the spring is around the corner!!

Chie Schiller
Board Chair/Executive President

Edo Priod Kimono.jpg
Meiji Period Kimono.jpg