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Due to the space limitation within the capsule, it would have been impossible to include complete outfits of traditional clothing, thus dolls were used, dressed in everyday clothing and accompanied by another outfit for formal wear. In this way, it was also possible to show how the kimono and its accessories are worn.
The literal meaning of the word kimono is "things that are worn", however the same word is also used rather generally to refer to the outer garment alone.
This outer garment is loosely cut with hanging sleeves and it has no ties of any kind. All seams, with the exception of the back of the collar, are straight. When worn, the garment is crossed over the body ( Ieft side over right) and secured at the proper height by a sash (obi). Variations occur between men's and women's costume in the cut of the sleeves and the width and tying method of the sash. The sash worn by women is very wide, of stiff texture and tied in an elaborate bow. Both costumes have various underpinnings of simple cut. The woman's costume is completed by a narrow silk cord and a soft (usually tie-dyed) sash encircling the obi and holding it in place.
The formal outfit for the male doll includes a black kimono with family crests on the front, sleeves and centre back, a jacket cut on the same lines as the kimono (haori), an undergarment and a pair of heavily-pleated trousers (hakama). The trousers are worn over the kimono. The female doll has a heavily-embroidered nagasode ( Iong-sleeved) kimono of the kind worn by young, unmarried women, also an elaborate brocade sash.
The cut of these garments is the result of many centuries of development in Japanese costume; changes have been most noticeable, however, in the manner of placing the outer garment on the body (in past eras, the kimono was worn by women in a loose, trailing style). Also the form of the obi has changed – from a soft sash tied at the front to the stiff, structured sash of today. Kimono is a unique national costume in many ways, principally in its design and decoration. Being made up of long, ungathered lengths of material, the kimono lends itself to a variety of fabrics, weaves and colourful designs.
This intricate brocade is a representative example of the Japanese tradition of brocade-weaving which goes back at least to the 7th century AD. Nishijin brocade (nishijinori) is named after the district in Kyoto which was the site of the nishijin or "west camp" during the civil wars of the 15th century. Much nishijinori is used for high-quality kimono and obi; velvet and gold may be worked into the design and the effect is very elegant and sophisticated. Nowadays, nishijinori is produced on mechanized looms, but the finest examples of the weave, such as the piece included in the capsule, are still woven on traditional hand looms in the district of Kyoto which gave the fabric its name.
This is a unique type of tsumugi (see N-8-1-3) which is woven on Amami Oshima Island, Kagoshima Prefecture. The finished colour of the yarn is a distinctive dark brown resulting from a long and complex dyeing process involving the use of a species of hawthorn called teichiki or sharinbai (Raphiolepis umbellata Makino) and cuprous-earth.
This fabric can also be recognised by designs representing the habu, a venomous snake found on Amami Oshima island.
The designs are executed in the manner called kasuri (see S-3-2-15).
Woven mainly in the town of Yuki in Ibaragi Prefecture, Yuki tsumugi is one of the oldest textiles still being made in Japan on traditional backstrap looms (izaribata) using hand-spun (tsumngi) silk yarns. Like Oshima-tsumugi, it is decorated with kasuri designs (see above: S-3-2-2) that take as long as two months to prepare and weave. The finished fabric is soft and bulky with a unique lustre. In many cases the yarn is indigo-dyed and the colour is mellowed by frequent washing of the finished fabric in hot water.
This sample demonstrates a dyeing technique on silk which was very popular during the 18th century for formal clothes such as kamishimo (wide epaulettes and hakama worn by men), kimono and a kind of unlined jacket (haori) known as hitoe-baori. The process of Edo** komon dyeing requires the cutting of exquisitely intricate paper stencils using a series of tiny punch-like knives. Several stencils are used and they must be placed upon the fabric with the utmost precision so that no irregularities in the pattern are created. Paste resist is applied through the stencil and the fabric is then dyed. The word komon means "small pattern" and Edo komon serves to distinguish this technique from a past-resist process called yuzen-zome, originating in Kyoto, and from various other forms of komon which developed later. In 1954, the process of making Edo komon was designated an Important Cultural Property.
** The name of the city of Tokyo, prior to 1868.
The name of this fabric means yellow (ki) eight (hachi)jo (a fabric measure equivalent to 3.787 m); that is, yellow silk made in a piece measuring 30.3m. The island on which the fabric is made, located within the prefectural district of Tokyo, is named Hachijojima after its famous product. Kihachijo has a yellow ground with a checked pattern of brown and black, the yellow coming from a grass called Hachijo kariyasu (Arthraxon hispidus Makino).
Over ten dyeing processes are required to produce a durable colour, a colour that is said to be resistant to washing and fading for up to forty years. The fabric is still woven by hand on traditional high looms, but the quantity produced is relatively small.
This is a type of gauze made of tightly-twisted silk yarn which is produced in Kiryu, Gunma Prefecture, and Tokamachi, Niigata Prefecture. Its surface texture resembles woodgrain and it combines coolness of feel and appearance with a rather elegant impression unique among silk fabrics. Honshaori is prized as a fabric for summer kimono, haori and obi.
This striped crepe (chirimen) is produced in the Shiozawa district of Niigata Prefecture. The name omeshi is a reference to the fact that the fabric was worn by the 11th Tokugawa Shogun, Ienari (1773-1841). The yarn is scoured and dyed before it is woven. Shiozawa omeshi is used for fine kimono, haori and obi.
This woollen cloth has been made in Japan since the Meiji era; commercial production began around 1951. It is made from lightweight wool yarn, the weft containing about 40% tsumugi (floss silk) yarn which gives a "feel" similar to that of Yuki tsumugi (see above: S-3-2-3) but at a considerably lower price. Nowadays, shizukaori is considered to be a fine quality fabric and it is used for kimono and haori which can be worn in every season except the summer. The crisp, yet crease-resistant, body of this fabric is effective in maintaining the shape of the kimono collar.
The technique of paste-resist dyeing known as yuzren was invented by Miyazaki Yuzensai during the 17th century. It is perhaps Japan's foremost development in the art of dyeing and certainly among the most difficult and demanding dyeing processes in the world.
The basic design is drawn on the silk by hand, then paste-resist is applied, again by hand, to reserve one colour against another as each detail of the pattern is dyed.
The patterns tend to be complex and naturalistic, flowing across different sections of the kimono, rather than all-over regular patterns. Since the kimono length is not cut until after the dyeing is completed, the design, as it will appear on the finished garment, must be worked out in advance on a paper "pattern". During the 19th century such patterns came to be mass-produced.
Today, certain craftsmen still make lengths of yuzen-dyed fabrics from original designs but because of the time-consuming nature of this technique the fabric is very costly. These craftsmen have many individual styles based on the traditions of Kyoto, Kaga and Edo (Tokyo) yuzen. Originally Kyoto yuzen was known as Kamogawa-zome.
This wax-resist dyeing technique was introduced from China during the Asuka period (7th century) and textiles of this kind dating from the 8th century are preserved in the Shosoin Imperial Repository in the ancient capital city of Nara. Wax is used to reserve certain sections of the pattern during dyeing and after the wax has been removed these sections are left undyed – the effect is similar to that of hand-painted cloth. Today, the traditional roketsu-zome patterns are applied to many kinds of fabric goods, including neckties and furnishing fabrics, and the technique of roketsu-zome is a popular hobby among Japanese women. Kimono lengths of roketsu-zome range from the costly, as in this example, to the inexpensive, depending on the fabric and the extent to which the process is mechanized.
This is a dyeing process in the tradition of Asian batik (sarasa) involving the use of paste resist. The complete length of the fabric is dyed in a solid colour before a multi-coloured design is applied, using paste-resist at each stage. Green, indigo and crimson are traditional colours and natural dyes are used for high-quality, hand-made lengths of fabric. In modern times, similar patterns are machine-printed on various kinds of furnishing and dress fabrics, scarves and other personal accessories.
Shibori or shibori-zome, another ancient dyeing technique, dates back to at least the 8th century. Commonly-known as tie-dyeing, the process involves tying sections of the fabric with fine thread so that all or part of the tied section remains undyed. The technique is not unique to Japan, but here it has been refined and used to make the most exquisitely-intricate kimono fabrics, sometimes in combination with embroidery, brocade or other woven patterns. The most notable examples of such shibori work date from the 16th to 18th centuries. Hitta shibori refers to patterns made of tiny tiedyed spots – each one hand-knotted. The finished fabric retains the elasticity and undulating surface caused by the gathering of the knots, and it is exceptionally soft and attractive. As well as kimono and haori, shibori is used for the soft silk scarves that are tucked into the top of women's obi.
This weave was invented in the 16th century in Hakata, Fukuoka Prefecture, Kyushu. It is a tightly-woven fabric with geometrical designs much appreciated for obi, obi cords, purses and other personal accessories. Before the silk yarn is woven, it is scoured and dyed. Fine, tightly twisted thread is used in the warp and relatively thick, single twisted yarn is used in the weft. The finished fabric has a unique feel which is firm yet warm.
Ojiya chijimi has been produced in the Ojiya district of Niigata Prefecture for about 300 years. It is a summer fabric for kimono characterized by a crimp produced by a special process of twisting the weft threads. Recently, Ojiya chijimi has been massproduced, substituting ramie yarn for hand-spun linen. Very little of the fabric is now made in the traditional way.
Kasuri is a patterned fabric for which the yarn is dyed prior to weaving. Blocks, patches or spots of the weft and/or warp threads are left undyed either by tie-dyeing the pre-measured yarn or pressing the sections to be left undyed between boards; the former method is the most common. In weft kasuri the pattern is built up by the undyed parts of the weft threads during weaving. In warp kasuri, the pattern is established during warping.
The slight inaccuracies that occur in placing the threads produce the characteristic blurred designs of kasuri, sometimes called "splashed" patterns. Although the kasuri technique did not originate in Japan, Japanese kasuri is noteworthy for its abundance of different designs and complex warp/weft techniques. Kurume kasuri is recognized by relatively small-scale, geometric or pictorial (ekasuri) designs in white on an indigo-blue ground. It has been made in Kurume, Fukuoka Prefecture, for about 100 years.
Yukata is an unlined cotton kimono used for casual wear in the home and outdoors on summer evenings. The cotton is light in weight and decorated with blue patterns having a very cool and fresh appearrance. There are different patterns for men's and women's yukata, the men's having smaller, geometrical designs.
Wherever Japanese people gather together to relax or celebrate, i.e. at hot-spring hotels and festivals, they can be seen in groups all wearing yukata of the same pattern. This is one of the typical sights of a Japanese summer.
Traditional Japanese footwear (see geta and zori following) is held to the foot by two straps anchored together at the front and then separated at the sides near the rear of the shoe. The straps pass between the big and second toes. For this reason, Japanese socks (tabi) are divided at the toe. They are cut from three main pieces of fabric; a sole, made of strongly woven cotton, and two upper pieces of fine cotton muslin seamed longitudinally. Tabi come to just above the ankle and are fastened on the inner side with metal clasps (five for women, one less for men). As formal wear with kimono, tabi are expected to fit very closely and be spotlessly clean.
Geta are Japanese thonged shoes made from one piece of solid wood. They may be elegant or rough according to the quality of the wood and straps.
Generally speaking, in modern times, they are worn on less formal occasions. Everyday geta are quite flat, or they may have two platform pieces which raise the shoe some 8cm above the ground. Originally designed for use in bad weather, these platform geta are now largely restricted to use with yukata and for certain traditional dances. Fine geta may be lacquered, decorated in colours and gold and the upper sole may be covered with a surface similar to tetami. Children's geta(pokkuri or koppori) are sometimes fitted with bells in a hollow under the sole.
The original distinction between geta and zori was that the former had a base of wood and the latter a base of rice-straw. The original straw zori, still used in country areas, is an inexpensive slipper tied to the legs by a lacing of straw; it is essentially a home-made article. Today, the word also applies to a more elaborate thonged shoe with wedge base of modern material which is worn by women, with kimono, on formal occasions. These zori are available in a wide variety of materials – Ieather, plastic, fabric and brocade – in many patterns and colours. Men's zori retain the traditional flat profile of straw zori, their upper surface being covered with woven rush.
The contents of this site are excerpted from THE OFFICIAL RECORD OF TIME CAPSULE EXPO'70(March 1975). Please note that company and organization names may differ from those of the current ones.
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