Facts of Japan -Traditional clothes
The traditional clothe of Japan is the Kimono. It is also called as Gofuku which means clothes of Wu. The Han Chinese clothing in fact influenced the earlier Kimonos of 5th Century. It was only during the Heian period, that kimonos went into a change an stylized Kimonos came into effect.
Then during the period of Muromachi, a single Kimono, Kosode, was worn. It was actually considered an underwear before that time. And it was worn without the trousers or divided skirt called Hakama and held closed by a belt called Obi.
After this, during the period of Edo, the sleeves became lengthy, especially among women who are unmarried. At the same time the Obi also became wider and the style of tying the Obi changed in distinctive ways. After this the essentially basic shape of Kimono for men and women were not changed drastically.
For men, Kimonos are available in many sizes. The men’s Kimono generally should fall approximately till the ankles. This is without tucking. A Kimono for women naturally has additional length and allows for the Ohashori which is the tuck that is seen under the Obi. This is used to adjust the Kimono.
Kimonos are traditionally sewn by hand only. Even if they are made by machine a substantial amount of hand stitching is required. They are made of silk, satin weaves and silk crepes. Rayon, Synthetic fibers, Cotton and polyester are less expensive modern Kimonos.
These Kimonos can be extremely formal and casual as well. And not only these but also that Kimonos convey very subtle social messages like marital status, and the age of a woman and then the levels of formalities etc. They are legends in a way!
Furisode are the most common Kimonos, specially made for unmarried women. They are very formal. The sleeves usually have a length of 100 to 107 cm. It generally has colorful patterns and these patterns cover the entire garment as well. In fact Furisode are meant for special occasions like coming of age ceremonies. It is called Seijin no Hi. It is also meant for unmarried females who are relatives of the bride in a wedding and also in a wedding reception. Furisode means swinging sleeves.
Hamonji is being worn for visiting someone. It ranks higher than its close relative one Tsukesage. This can be worn by both married as well as unmarried women. A bride’s relatives mostly wear this one. And it is also called a formal wear.
Iromuji is worn for tea parties. It has a single color and both married and unmarried women wear this. Komon has such repeated pattern all over the garment. It is generally casual and can be worn around town.
Komon in English, a small pattern. Kimono decorated with small, repeating pattern over the entire surface. Quite freely and can be worn around town or, with appropriate obi, to the restaurant. Komon can wear girls and married women.
Edo Komon is also a Komon and it has tiny dots that are arranged in the dense patterns. This actually forms a large design on Kimono. This can be a visiting or tea party wear.
Mofuku, made of plain black silk, is essentially a formal mourning dress for everyone.
Tomesode is a single color Kimono and is usually worn by married women. Now Susohiki or Hikizuri is generally worn by Geisha and the stage performers. Compared to regular Kimono, it is usually longer.
Hakama is a wide pleated skirt. Presently, men and women wear this. This has 7 pleats and these 7 pleats stand for certain virtues.
Yukata is another casual version of the Kimono. This is worn after bathing.
Junihitoe is the most expensive and elegant one and is worn by the court ladies.
Uwangi usually consists of a jacket and it is worn with Hakama.
Tabi is essentially traditional Japanese socks. Zori is open sandal and is worn with Kimono. Geta is the normal flip flop. Waragi is footwear that presently is worn by Buddhist monks.
In fact, a slightly changed version of the traditional dresses is in vogue today as time changes. But the basic principles of Japanese clothing are always maintained in all the versions.