Landa Teen International Blogger: Japanese Kimonos! (Men and Womens)

Kimonos have been a part of traditional japanese culture for centuries since the Heian Period in time (794-1192). Kimono’s would be worn daily with varying fabrics, folds, and designs to fit the weather and activity for the day. Men and women alike would dress in kimonos to respect certain events or display their social status. Today, the kimono is worn mostly for festivals, tea ceremonies, flower arragements or special events, like weddings. It can be rarely seen that a kimono is worn everyday.

There are different types of Kimonos for different seasons such as yukata, a summer kimono made of cotton. The other three seasons also have their designated colors and designs that are deemed approprate. For example, pale colors and greens are usually worn during spring. Traditionally with both women and men, kimonos are worn with an obi, or belt/sash. Tying an obi requires skill and is usually tied with assistance; at times, the obi will weigh twice as much as the kimono itself. 

A truly traditional womans kimono requires many different parts that usually require time, patience, and assistance to assemble. Beneath the kimono is a naga-juban. The primary purpose of this is to allow the actually kimono to be washed less often. The overall goal of a womans kimono is to be rid of curves. A traditional obi can be up to 11 feet long and is designed to hide the natural curve of the back. At times, there is extra padding put around the shoulders and across the body to appear curve-free. As time went on, kimonos were tied with sashes or silk scarves due to the difficulty of putting on a full obi. The kimono acted as a heavy corset for women and usually restricts ability to sit, consume large portions of food, and walk up stairs. For the common woman, they are worn probably twice or three times a year for special events. Some women such as maiko or geisha, may wear kimonos daily with ease and can walk and maneuver easily. A geisha is an entertainer/hostess that usually preforms traditional dances and music; a maiko is the apprentice of the geisha. Just as western women may learn to walk in heels, learning to go about your day in a traditional kimono is a learned art.

A men’s kimono is less complicated and quite different than a womans kimono. It is worn at knee length as opposed to ankle length like a womens kimono. They are made from either cotton, a breathable silk, or wool depending on the season. Over a kimono, a haori can be worn. It’s like a jacket or over coat that can be painted with various designs or patterns. Many variations of mens kimonos can be worn by sumo wrestlers or martial arts specialists also. Most of the parts to a mens kimono are similar to a womens kimono such as an obi. Sandals, called geta, are worn a bit differently than the sandals we wear here.


If you’ve become interested you can check out some of the links that I used for research and general information!

-Ale, 15

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