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Japanese Kimono Obi Styles

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Uploaded on Nov 3, 2009

An interesting collection of Japanese kimono obi. In Japan today you can still occasionally spot people (women mostly) wearing the traditional Japanese kimono. If you encounter someone in kimono walking along the street in Japan then it is likely they are on their way to some important event such as a marriage or school entrance ceremony. Community festivals and religious events are excellent places to see Japanese people in some form of Japan's traditional costume. Only a few decades ago in Japan it was not uncommon to frequently see older women wearing subdued kimono as they went about their town errands. These women commonly wore kimono as their standard outfit, and may have held an impressive wardrobe of these beautiful robes in their home. The traditional kimono wardrobe for a woman did in the past commonly include one or more kimono for everyday wear; another for shopping, traveling or meeting with friends; still another for semi-formal visiting; another for weddings and receptions and finally a black crested ceremonial kimono for use at funerals. In addition, a woman would require a large number of supplemental items such as a kimono corset, special undershirts and half-slips, a lined under-kimono and half-collar, silk waistband, tabi socks and zori or geta sandals!

My wife's grandmother wore and made her own kimono all her adult life until her passing in the mid 1980's. While growing up, my wife Yumiko and her grandmother shared a small bedroom together, and Yumiko today enjoys telling stories of watching her grandmother dress herself in kimono each morning. Grandmother always awoke early to prepare the family's breakfast and would invariably put on one of her everyday kimonos. My wife tells how she was always fascinated to watch her grandmother perform the complicated procedure of tying the kimono's obi (sash) behind her back with no assistance (very few modern Japanese women can do this). Grandmother was always careful to put on one of her three-quarter length michiyuki (literally "while on the road") outer coats to protect her fine, hand-made kimono from becoming soiled during the day. 

Sadly, today there are very few older women (or anyone else) in Japan who wear kimono as their daily attire. As time passes and memories fade, many families (though not ours) have sought to respectfully dispose of their ancestor's kimono wardrobes in order to free space in the normally cramped Japanese home. With this occurrence we are beginning to see a larger number of interesting, high-quality kimono and kimono accessories appearing in Japanese fabric and antique stores as well as at flea markets and auctions. This transition of traditional Japanese clothing into the open marketplace presents us with a rare and interesting opportunity to find and acquire authentic Japanese kimono and kimono accessories at a reasonable price. Such items with their wonderful fabrics and unique Japanese patterns are often well suited for use as decorative accents within the home. Kimono Obi for example make beautiful table runners, often without the need to cut or alter their form in any way.

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