With a public holiday coming up on Monday, it’s a three-day weekend here in Japan. As you might imagine, some of us—ahem—are having a little trouble applying our fidgety brains to the task of bringing you the latest Nippon news. There’s been a lot of interesting and important developments this week that we should cover, like the shuffling of Prime Minister Abe’s cabinet and two Nobel Prizes going to Japanese researchers and—OH LOOK, “10 CATS” HAS A NEW VIDEO!!!1!
Geta are traditional Japanese wooden sandals, often still worn by men and women today along with yukata or kimono. They match perfectly with the classic look of traditional Japanese wear, and make a satisfying clip-clop sound on the ground as you walk.
But if you’ve spent any time at all wearing geta, you’ve probably wondered why anyone would want to put something that painful on their feet. Even so, there’s still something visually appealing about them, but we’ve just found some that really take the cake, and these works of art may just be more suited for a display case than they are for walking.
It might seem a little odd to hear that yukata, the lightweight kimono worn at summertime festivals, fireworks shows, and bon dances, are in the middle of a revival in popularity in Japan right now, but it’s absolutely true. After several years in which young Japanese found yukata to be too expensive and troublesome to bother with, they’re back in fashion with teens and young adults in a huge way.
Part of this is no doubt due to more and more manufacturers offering reasonably priced yukata, as you can now often find sets that include the robe and sash for around 6,000 yen (US$48). And as for not knowing how to put everything on and tie it properly? That’s also a problem of the past, thanks to online explanations like this pair of videos from fashion and yukata retailer Uniqlo.
They say that it’s rare to see a real maiko walking the streets of Kyoto, since these artists usually work at night and live in their own secluded world, far from the rest of Japanese society. In fact, if you spot a maiko strolling around Gion during the day, there’s a good chance she’s a tourist who’s undergone a fabulously elaborate makeover.
We took our Japan Wish competition winner Ashley to a studio in Kyoto’s Gion neighborhood to have a maiko-over and be transformed in an amazing process that yielded completely stunning results. Ashley was able to choose her own kimono and obi sash, and as part of the deal she was treated to a professional photography session and the opportunity to take a stroll around the streets of Gion in full maiko garb!
Premium Bandai is listing two special yukata for the many discerning Gintama fans. Rather than being outright replicas of Gintoki’s kimono and the Shinsengumi’s uniforms from the series, both yukata take color and print cues for something original.
The Gintoki yukata includes a fan motif featuring the pattern on his own kimono. The rest of the print includes red, black, and blue dots in varying sizes and small diamond shapes. The set includes a black obi.
Everyone knows what a kimono is – the beautifully designed, traditional Japanese garb that is still worn for formal occasions, even today. But did you know the kimono-making industry is in crisis? With its artisans aging and not enough newcomers taking up the mantle, the market has been dwindling quickly over the past few decades.
But there are a few who are trying to revive this dying tradition, by taking kimonos to the runway at New York Fashion Week. Would you like to see this become a reality? Find out how you can help!
It’s hard to find a more Japanese piece of clothing than the yukata, the lightweight kimono worn in the summer. Over on the other side of the Pacific, there are few more iconic symbols of American fashion than blue jeans. So what happens when you put the two together?
You get the denim yukata.
In a country where pets outnumber children, animals in Japan are some of the most spoilt in the world. It’s not uncommon to see owners carrying dogs like babies, pushing them in specially-made prams and taking them on onsen hot spa holidays. The nation even has 11 cat islands where felines roam free and locals lavish them with attention.
So when big events and special holidays roll around, Japan’s furry friends also get dressed up for the occasion. Pet parents know no bounds when it comes to dressing their little ones and what better way to share the joy than with tiny elaborate kimonos? Join us as we take a look at some of Japan’s most stylish kittens below!
Japanese kimono come in countless designs and colours, but it’s often the elegant obi (sash) that takes centre stage. Whether it’s colourful or subdued, simply tied or intricately folded, the sash is more than just a way to tie the outfit together; it’s the element that lets you show off a bit of your personality in an otherwise restrictive garment.
So what better way for kimono-wearing cat lovers to draw some attention to their wardrobe than with an adorably folded feline? And with such a variety to choose from, there’s bound to be a kitten that’s purr-fect for you!
Summer is almost upon us, and that means it’s time to get out your yukata and head to the local festival or fireworks display. Of course, with everyone else wearing a yukata, it can be hard to find something that really pops and stands out. Thankfully, Tsukikageya, a Tokyo-based specialty yukata shop, has just what you need to look as baller as you feel.
We stopped by the store one cloudy afternoon to take a look around and talk with Natsuki, owner and designer, about her unique yukata designs and inspiration. Check out our chat and photos below!
‘Omotenashi’, the spirit of Japanese hospitality, became something of a buzzword at home and abroad when Christel Takigawa used the phrase in her speech to the International Olympic Committee in 2013.
And it’s in this spirit that Tokyo’s Narita airport plans to extend an especially warm welcome to international visitors this year, as it renews its Omotenashi Program of special offers and cultural events for transferring passengers.
Kimono are beautiful, often brightly-coloured intricate works of art as well as being items of clothing. But if you’ve ever tried one on, you’ll know that the sensation is at first somewhat akin to being wrapped in a sleeping bag or heavy roll of carpet. Even walking in a kimono can take some getting used to, and it beats me how Kyoto’s Maiko are able to dance in those things.
But in this slightly naughty commercial by Japanese internet provider UQ-WIMAX, a kimono-clad waitress at a traditional Japanese restaurant actually manages to run so fast, her kimono goes flying off!
Oftentimes, foreign celebrities visiting Japan will don a kimono or hakama to take commemorative photos of their trip. While they can sometimes appear incredibly awkward or constricted while dressed in the traditional clothing, a photo of silver screen darling Audrey Hepburn reveals that she looks right at home in the beautiful garb. Furthermore, the picture wasn’t even taken in Japan!
Ukiyo-e, (浮世絵), or the “floating world pictures” synonymous with the woodblock prints and paintings of the rising merchant class of Edo period (1603-1867) Japan, include some of Japan’s most recognizable pieces of artwork to this day. Along with kabuki actors, sumo wrestlers, historical/mythological scenes, and landscapes, one of the most popular subject matter choices for ukiyo-e were portraits of beautiful women, also known as bijin-ga.
Despite the passage of time between the end of the Edo period and the modern day, at least one artist still incorporates traditional ukiyo-e elements into her pictures of beautiful women with a subtly modern flair. Get ready to feast your eyes on these exquisite modern-day paintings of kimono-clad beauties by artist Haruyo Morita!
The fact that the word kawaii has now been accepted into the Oxford English Dictionary says a lot about Japan’s obsession with all things cute. If there’s a manhole cover or a health and safety pamphlet that needs brightening up somehow, you can pretty much guarantee that someone will design a cutesy character or scene to adorn it. That’s just how Japan rolls.
Never, though, have we come across barricades made to look like kneeling kimono-clad princesses before.
You could make the argument that Nintendo is the most “Japanese” of the major video game companies. Obviously that’s a label you can’t apply to Microsoft, but even compared to internationally focused Sony, with design studios and production teams all over the world, more of Nintendo’s products are developed domestically, and many in Kyoto, the quintessential Japanese city.
So it’s kind of ironic that the company’s best-known character, Mario, is Italian. Still, the video game hero is one of the best choices for a symbol of Japanese pop culture, and now he’s been combined with Japanese traditional culture in an awesome Mario kimono.
There are many things to love about the kimono, the elegant traditional robe that just screams “Japan”. But beautiful and steeped in tradition as it is, the kimono is not without its accompanying inconveniences: its long skirt, which stays pencil-straight right down to the floor, provides almost no wiggle-room and prevents the wearer from running…or even walking particularly fast, unless in comically short strides. Riding a bicycle, too, has long been out of the question – until now.
Now, I think kimonos are lovely, and I find their colors and patterns absolutely fascinating. But as beautiful as they are, kimonos tend to be expensive, and the process of wearing them is complicated enough that it takes considerable practice (usually involving going to classes of some kind) to dress yourself properly in one. And the truth is that there are very few opportunities today for the average Japanese to dress in kimono outside of special occasions, such as the coming-of-age ceremony, university graduations or weddings. Yes, people do still wear kimonos, but it’s rare enough that someone in a kimono will stand out in a crowd, as visitors to Japan will undoubtedly have noticed. And if simply being in a kimono can be eye-catching, imagine how much attention you might get wearing a stunning kimono like the one pictured above!
Elegant kimono, cascading wisteria blossoms and the stunning scenery of Kyushu, Japan’s most southwesterly island. If this sounds like an archetypal scene from the land of the rising sun, you’d be half right – new drama ‘Kol Kimono’, which hits TV screens in December, is definitely set in Japan. But you won’t find it broadcast there just yet – only in Thailand!
In Thailand, interest in Japanese culture is at an all-time high. Thanks in part to relaxed visa regulations, the number of Thai visitors to Japan has doubled in the last three years. The new primetime drama, which started filming on location in Kyushu last week, also stars Thongchai “Bird” McIntyre, one of Thailand’s biggest names, in his first leading role in 17 years.