Haiku reflections on Japan

Kimono matters

A kimono is

a beautiful thing indeed,

on the right person

Well that`s not entirely true I suppose.   No actually it is true.   I saw an article in the on-line pages of a certain newspaper I usually like – but seems to be hiring crap writers by the minute – about how women in Japan are no longer wearing them regularly.  The author rather strangely points to a certain non-Japanese princess (I think you can guess who), hoping her version of a kimono worn on a recent visit to a part of Asia once colonized by Japan (ahem), will help to revive the wearing of kimono.  I don`t know how popular this princess is in Japan but the author probably thinks that if young Japanese girls or even older women see her wearing one (even though it was only a `version` of one) they might be inclined to start wearing them.   A natural aspect of the fashion world I know (to copy celebrities and famous people) but still, a bit optimistic. Is this writer a fan of this princess or what?   In any case, Japan is well able to promote aspects of her own culture.  Why should she need to rely on a bland foreign princess to `save` it (by wearing something that wasn`t very kimono-like at all, according to the comments following the article)?  This princess is the last person whose `style` I`d be inclined to imitate (it`s not just her personality that is bland) and I can`t see what people see in her but this is about Japan anyway, not a princess-bashing post, so I`ll move on.

In  Japan, kimono are only ever worn now on special occasions and I think they are all the more special for that.  Otherwise, they are mainly worn by geisha and maiko (geisha in training) in the tourist hotspots.   I personally love kimonos too but I would feel out of place in one.   I even had to think a lot, while in Japan, about buying a simpler yukata – a kind of summer version without all the rules and know-how that go with wearing kimonos.  I didn`t in the end because I couldn`t find a a pattern that I really liked … at a price I really liked!!

There is a simpler version of the kimono now available, according to the article, called the `iki`.   Maybe they should lower the price to make it more accessible to the purse strings of people who don`t have £70,000 to spend on a single item of clothing (one sample of material for one iki, was cited in the article as being worth £70,000).   Are they all that expensive?  It is a good example, in any case, of how Japan has modified the kimono to make it more adaptable to modern life, something the Japanese are good at (blending the old and the new) so I`m sure Japan will get over this `crisis` (it has more urgent problems to think about I`m sure).

Below is a link to a site where you can learn more about kimono, the different types for different occasions, from the relatively ordinary to the most beautiful.  I like the one in the main picture on the home page:

http://www.gojapango.com/fashion/kimono.html

Enjoy : )

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