Japanese Culture: Traditional Japanese Clothing

Traditional Japanese clothing are worn mainly for ceremonies and special occasions like weddings or festivals.  Japanese clothing also reflects two different types of change: seasonal change as well as change resulting from Western influence.Even though clothing styles change over time, traditional Japanese clothing (和服) makes a comeback in times of weddings or other festivities.  The kimono (着物) is a well-known piece of traditional clothing in Japan.  Some still wear it today on special occasions.  There are a few different types of kimonos to choose from; the Kurotomesode (黒留袖), which is worn by married women; the Tsukesage (付け下げ), which is a modest version of an elaborate kimono; the Edo Komon (江戸小紋), a casual garment with tiny dots in dense patterns that both married and unmarried women can wear; the Susohiki, which is worn by Geishas, or stage performers; and the Furisode (振袖), which is worn by unmarried women.  Over the years, there have been visible changes in the designs of the kimono.

Traditional Japanese clothing are worn mainly for ceremonies and special occasions like weddings or festivals.  Japanese clothing also reflects two different types of change: seasonal change as well as change resulting from Western influence.

The Kurotomesode (黒留袖) is worn by married women, often by the mothers of the bride and groom at weddings.

Chinese fashion was a huge influence on Japanese fashion.  Japanese clothing is designed to reflect the colors of the seasons, especially the colors found in nature during each season.  Although Japanese clothing looks simple, its designs are complex and elegant.  The kimono holds more meaning than just being a piece of clothing.  Even the kimonos of married and unmarried women can change to fit the season.  Silk, by law, was only used for the upper class while hemp, ramie and other plant-derived fibers were used by the common people.  However, traditional Japanese clothing is mostly worn during weddings and festivals now.  It is common to see Western influenced clothing styles in Japan, nowadays, reflecting not just a seasonal color change, but a cultural change, as well.

The following video is a demonstration of how to dress in Kurotomesode.

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Taylor P.
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