Kimono - All about traditional Japanese clothing

Do you know the traditional Japanese clothing called the Kimono? In this article, we will see a little bit about the famous traditional dress Kimono and its parts and accessories, plus some other similar clothing.

Japan maintains an ancient culture, even with Westernization, Japanese fashion differs from the whole world. Fortunately, traditional clothing from previous centuries remains in fashion, and is used on several occasions.

Dressing thing - Kimono or Kimono?

Is it right Kimono or Kimono? What is the meaning? Let’s start the article by answering these two small questions. Kimono is a Brazilian version of the word kimono. Both are correct, but I prefer to write in the original way.

Its meaning is quite simple and means something to wear. In the word Kimono, we have the ideogram to dress [着] and thing [物]. It is a simple word, which is currently used to refer to a specific type of traditional Japanese clothing.

Nowadays it is common to associate the gi with clothes used in fights like judo, jiujitsu, etc. Although they bear the same name, they are different clothes. In fact, the word has already been used and to refer to any type of clothing or thing to wear.

Kimono - parts and accessories of traditional Japanese clothing
Japanese wearing traditional clothing

What is the Origin of the Kimono?

The kimono was created with the influence of Chinese clothing "HAN" or "Hanfu" but has developed over the centuries, being part of traditional clothing between the years 794 to the 19th century.

With time the Kimono was replaced by western clothes and yukata for greater comfort and easy mobility. Today, they are used more by women, and on special occasions. The gi has a long history, and has undergone several changes during the millennium.

In 1903, the first clothing variation inspired by the cutouts of the traditional kimono appeared. This variation was made by Paul Poiret and became popular in Europe. Soon other variations appeared, one of them was made by the Brazilian Nivia Freitas and became popular around 2016.

Kimono - parts and accessories of traditional Japanese clothing
A traditional clothing store in Japan

What are the parts of a Kimono?

Before we know the parts and accessories that make up the gi, we need to know the parts of this great piece.

  • Doura [胴裏] - top covering on the woman's garment;
  • Eri [衿] - paste;
  • Fuki [袘] - hem guard;
  • Only by [袖] - sleeve below the pit;
  • Obi [帯] - a belt used to fold the excess cloth;
  • Maemigoro [前身頃] - main part of the front, excluding manga .;
  • Miyatsukuchi [身八つ口] - opening under the manga;
  • Okumi [衽] - front inside the panel on the left and right front edge, excluding the manga;
  • Only by [袖] - Sleeve;
  • Sodeguchi [袖口] - sleeve opening;
  • Sodetsuke [袖付] - armholes;
  • Susomawashi [裾回し] - bottom coating;
  • Tamoto [袂] - sleeve bag;
  • Tomoeri [共衿] - [collar protector] along the collar;
  • Uraeri [裏襟] - inner collar;
  • Ushiromigoro [後身頃] - main part at the rear, excluding sleeve;
Kimono - parts and accessories of traditional Japanese clothing
Parts of a Kimono

Different type of Kimono

Kimono can vary widely and change depending on age, season, occasion and many other factors. There is a whole label behind the gi and even a correct way to dress them. Now let's see some types of kimono.

Furisode [振袖] are long-sleeve kimonos (70 to 90 cm) that swing. It is formal and used by single girls, richly printed, closed with obi in multicolored and shiny brocade tied in large loops on the back.

The kimono furisode can be used by the bride's unmarried friends in wedding ceremonies. Young women also often use furisode in their older age group (20 years) called Seijin Shiki.

Kosode [小袖] is an expression that derives from the custom that when women married they started to use kimonos with short sleeve or cut the manga as a symbol of loyalty to the husband, giving rise to the tomesode [留袖].

Usually these kimonos of the type tomesode they are used in wedding ceremonies and are quite formal. They usually have 5 or 3 family kamons (shields) printed and embroidered on the manga, breasts and back.

Kimono - all about traditional Japanese clothing
Japanese women in a temple

Tomesode are short sleeve kimonos usually separated by:

  • kurotomesodand [黒留袖] - Black and formal;
  • irotomesode [色留袖] - Black and less formal;

The parents of the bride or groom often use kurotomesode, while the bride's relatives and friends often use irotomesode. Usually this type of kimono uses a brocade and gold obi. Sleeves are 50 cm to 70 cm long.

Houmongi [訪問着] - A plain kimono of one color, usually with pastel tones. This type has no kamons (family shields) and is considered less formal than the irotomesode, but can be used at parties and wedding ceremonies.

Tsukesage [付下げ] - An exquisite kimono worn by single or married women. It usually has a more discreet decor and is less formal than houmongi, and can be used daily on different occasions.

Iromuji [色無地] - Kimono of only one color, which can have textures but without decoration in another color, used mainly in Tea Ceremonies. You can have a small decorative embroidery or a kamon (family shield) on the back.

Kimono - parts and accessories of traditional Japanese clothing
Different types of traditional Japanese clothing

What are the differences between Kimono and Yukata?

Yukata is one of the most similar items to the gi and is often confused by people who don't know their differences. One of the main differences is that the traditional kimono is composed of several pieces, while yukata is more simple and thin.

Yukata is a more casual and thin type of kimono, usually composed of just one piece and a belt. It is often used after bathing in traditional hotels ryokan and onsen. The word yukata literally means swimwear.

Yukata [浴衣] is a popular Japanese dress in the summer. Generally people wear yukatas at Japanese festivals and at fireworks festivals (Hanabi Taikai) and other traditional summer events.

Kimono - parts and accessories of traditional Japanese clothing
Japanese Yukata

What are the parts and accessories of a Kimono?

There are several other accessories and related clothing items that were created just to be worn with the gi. If you do not use some of the pieces that we will mention below, you cannot even say that you are wearing a kimono.

Obi [帯] -Wide ornate belts that are wrapped around the waist of the Kimono or Yukata. Depending on the outfit, these obi may cost more than the kimono itself.

Eri-sugata [衿姿] - Fake collar that can be used with the kimono to simulate more layers;

Haori [羽織] - Types of jackets that can be worn over kimonos on cold days. Already Happi [法被] is a type of Haori used by shopkeepers, which is now widely seen as team uniforms at festivals.

Kimono - parts and accessories of traditional Japanese clothing
See some parts and differences of traditional clothes

Koshihimo [腰紐] - A narrow sash used to aid in dressing, often made of silk or wool. They are used to hold virtually anything in place during the dressing process, and can be used in many ways.

Nagajuban [長襦袢] - Kimono-shaped cloak worn by men and women under the gi. As they are made of silk, they are delicate and difficult to clean, nagajuban helps keep the kimono clean by avoiding contact with the wearer's skin.

Zori [草履] - Traditional sandals similar to slippers. There are formal and informal zori, they are made of many materials, including fabric, leather and vinyl and can be adorned.

  • Geta [下駄] - Wooden sandals worn by men and women with yukata;
  • Waraji [草鞋] - Straw sandals worn by the monks;
Kimono - parts and accessories of traditional Japanese clothing

Women’s Kimono Parts and Accessories

Hiyoku [ひよく] A type of sub-kimono, historically worn by women under the kimono. Today they are only used on formal occasions, such as weddings and other important social events.

Kanzashi [簪] - Hair ornaments used by women. There are many different styles, including silk flowers, wooden combs, and hairpins.

  • Juban [襦袢] and Hadajuban [肌襦袢] - A thin garment similar to a sweater;
  • Susoyoke [裾除け] - An inner skirt, a feminine underwear;
Kimono - parts and accessories of traditional Japanese clothing

Men’s Kimono Parts and Accessories

Hakama [袴] - Traditional Japanese clothing. It is usually worn over the kimono covering the lower body and resembling baggy pants. Hakama are traditionally men's clothing.

Originally it was used only by samurai men to protect their legs while riding a horse. On foot, Hakama hides its legs, making it more difficult to predict movement, thus giving it an advantage in combat.

Nowadays, Hakama are used only in extremely formal situations, such as the tea ceremony, weddings and funerals. Attendants at Shinto temples and practitioners of certain Japanese martial arts, such as aikido, kenjutsu, kendo and kyudo also use Hakama.

  • Fundshi [褌] - Traditional Japanese underwear [thong] for adult males, made from cotton;
  • Netsuke [根付 or 根付け] - It consists of a worn ornament suspended on the obi;
  • Jittoku [十徳] Type of haori worn only by men;
  • Jinbaori [陣羽織] - Made specifically for a samurai to wear;

These were some curiosities about the kimono and its accessories. If you liked the article, don't forget to share and leave your comments. Thank you very much and see you next time!

Kimono - parts and accessories of traditional Japanese clothing
Japanese traditional wedding

The Kimono of the West

Strangely, whenever we look for kimono on clothing websites in Brazil, we come across pieces that have absolutely no relation to traditional Japanese kimono. We found only a few short, even low-cut blouses, quite the opposite of a kimono.

I am not sure, but this is the invention of the West. In the year 1903 the French designer Paul Poiret created a version of a short kimono coat, which generated quite controversial but which became popular in Europe.

A Brazilian stylist named Nívia Freitas also created her version of a kimono as a dress in 2016 that also became a trend. When searching for the gi we also come across a lot of fighting uniforms, which in Japan have different names.

It seems that in Brazil any blouse overlapping with a belt ends up earning a nickname of gi. Here even the Yukata are sold in the store by the name of the gi, but don't be fooled.

Kimono - all about traditional Japanese clothing
Children fighting karate

What occasions to wear a Kimono?

Kimono [着物 Kimono] is a traditional Japanese garment made up of silk clothes, belts and various accessories. Because it is an expensive and complex traditional clothing, it is not common to wear it day by day.

Despite all the difficulties and different types of kimonos for every occasion, they are very popular with the Japanese. Below we will see some of the main situations or occasions in which a Kimono should be worn:

Kimono with Hakama skirt at Graduation Ceremony

A great opportunity to use the kimono it is during the graduation ceremonies of universities and colleges. For women, it is one of the only opportunities to wear Hakama over the gi (a type of skirt worn by samurai).

Kimono - all about traditional Japanese clothing
Graduation wearing a traditional outfit with hakama

The wedding kimono

Western-style weddings are very popular in Japan, but some prefer to wear kimonos in traditional Shinto weddings. Western-style couples also often wear the bridal kimono during the wedding party.

In Shinto weddings, the groom usually wears a traditional dark colored outfit with five family crests, known as kurotomesode. The groom also wears a hakama.

Wedding guests also often wear traditional Japanese clothing. Single and young women tend to use more striking colors, older guests tend to use darker colors.

Kimono - all about traditional Japanese clothing
Traditional Shinto Wedding

Kimono used in Funerals

At funerals it is customary to use black kimono, unfortunately this custom has been replaced by suits that are cheaper.

Wearing kimono in stores

Store employees who sell traditional items, such as wagashi, usually wear kimono. Cleaning the street in front of the store with a gi is a tradition. There are many other types of businesses that usually choose a traditional outfit as their uniform.

Restaurants are some of the businesses that have an implicit dress code. The easiest way to see Japanese people wearing their traditional clothing in a modern and technological city is by visiting such traditional stores and restaurants.

Kimono in the art of Kyudo

Kyudo is a Japanese archery art in which it is common to wear the gi together with hakama. It is very different from the kimono clothes worn by japanese martial arts, especially because Kyudo is more common to have the participation of women.

Kimono - all about traditional Japanese clothing
Practitioners of the Kyudo Art

Wearing the gi at Festivals and Hanami

Japanese festivals usually involve performances or parades by people in yukata or kimono. In many cases, people also attend traditional Japanese clothing festivals.

However, it is much more common to go to a yukata matsuri (A cheaper type of summer kimono). In addition to festivals, during the months that the cherry blossoms bloom, Japanese people often wear a Kimono or Yukata to see the blooming cherry trees.

Kimono - all about traditional Japanese clothing
Girls enjoying the hanami festival

Other situations in which the gi is worn

Those who participate in the tea ceremony wear a kimono. Geisha and Maiko in addition to traditional clothing often use additional layers, such as a shiny inner layer known as a hiyoku.

At Ryokan - traditional Japanese guesthouses it is a great opportunity that you have to use a Yukata. It is common to wear kimono for training and events in traditional Japanese arts, such as Ikebana, musical performances or traditional struggles.

These are some of the occasions that the Japanese wear the gi. There are many others, in addition to many details that were not mentioned on each occasion. What did you think of the article? Leave your comments and share with friends.

Where to Buy a Kimono?

To purchase traditional Japanese clothing, it may be necessary to import from Japanese websites, but there are alternatives such as having them made or buying cheap imitations inspired by Brazilian stores such as Amazon.

Perhaps your case is just a Kimono to practice martial arts. If so, the options below will help you:

Videos about Kimono

Below we will leave some videos related to traditional Japanese clothing:

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