Last weekend we had a Kimono Competition in Kumamoto. Because I took part in the furisode competition, I had to learn a lot about furisode recently. So this is the right time to write a nice article about it. When it comes to the season, writing about furisode now is pretty late. The “furisode season” is especially in December (New Year’s), January (Coming-of-Age Day), and March/April (university graduation ceremonies). As furisode is a full formal dress (reisō 礼装) for unmarried girls, there are hardly chances to wear it.
New Year’s (O-shōgatsu お正月) is like the western Christmas, in other words the most important holidays of the year. That is why some girls are paying their first shrine visit of the year wearing a furisode.
Coming of age is another big event in the lives of Japanese people. Most girls are wearing furisode with hair and make-up made for the Coming-of-age ceremony (seijinshiki 成人式). On this day the whole city is crowded with 20 year old girls wearing furisode. If you like kimono, this is definitely an event you shouldn’t miss.
Another event where furisode is kind of standard are the university graduation ceremonies. The number of girls wearing furisode on that day are changing from prefecture to prefecture and university to university. There are also many girls who wear hakama to their graduation ceremony. (More about hakama later.)
Another reason to wear a furisode would be a wedding ceremony, but you see the chances to wear a furisode are really small in number.
The easiest way to distinguish between a casual kimono and furisode are – of course – the long sode. But there are even more differences.
① obi musubi
The standard obi musubi you tie for a furisode is the so-called chō musubi (蝶結び, literally: butterfly knot). As fukuro obi or obi higher in rank are tied to furisode, you can do a lot of more different tying.
② obiage and obishime
When you are supposed to wear a furisode, you are young and not married and those two facts are the reason why you should stand out in the mass. (I think most traditional cloths over the whole world have something standing out to show that you are not married.) That is why the obi is gorgeous. Furisode obiage and obishime are made in order to let the obi look more voluminous. You can compare a normal obiage and obishime to those used for furisode.
furisode obiage vs. homongi, komon etc. obiage
Of course a furisode nagajuban has long sode and most of them are white or dyed with light color as it is standard for reisō (6th lesson).
I wasn’t writing about haneri (collar 半襟) so far, but normally there is a rule which says that you should always have a white haneri for reisō kimono (formal kimono) – except furisode. You might even use pink, purple, red, blue… whatever you want.
⑤ kasane eri or date eri
For formal kimono you wear a second collar which is sewn on the kimono itself.
Furisode are very beautiful thanks to their gorgeous pattern and obi musubi. If you ever have the chance to wear one, take that chance! It is worth it, because it is totally different from a normal kimono.
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