11th Lesson: Obi… again!

Happy New Year!

2016 has just started. In January the big New Year’s Sale starts in Japan. If you ever come to Japan only for shopping, I highly recommend New Year’s and July. 🙂 Well, I did a lot New Year’s shopping, too, which inspired me to another lesson for my blog. And here it is! 😀

I have already written about the different obi (4th lesson), but that was only the tip of the iceberg. This one thing about kimono which is tiring or inspiring: you will never know anything about it. Today we will concentrate on obi for unformal sceneries, so-called fudangi (普段着, “casual wear”). It is the opposite of reisō (礼装, “formal dress”).

When we speak about a fudangi kimono, you would say komon, edo komon and iromuji without a family crest (3rd lesson). A fudangi obi are the following:

Nagoya obi (名古屋帯) or nagoya shitate (名古屋仕立て, “Nagoya tailoring”)

As you may know there is a city called Nagoya in Japan. It lies between Tokyo and Osaka and has about 4 million inhabitants. But why is an obi called like a city? There are two stories about it. The first is about the founder of the Nagoya Women’s University who thought of this kind of obi. A kimono shop liked the idea, began to produce and sell it. It was a bestseller and it spread into other parts of Japan, too. Another one is about a design made for an industrial arts exhibition in central Japan. Well, we don’t know about the designer, but at least we know, it is from Nagoya. However, there are two kinds of nagoya obi, which are kyūsun nagoya obi (九寸名古屋帯) and hassun nagoya obi (八寸名古屋帯). Kyūsun (= 9 sun = 34.1cm) and hassun (= 8 sun = 31.1cm) is the width of cloth before it is tailored. You can tell if it is an kyūsun or hassun nagoya obi, when you look at width of the taiko part.

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(I got this kyūsun nagoya obi at Wa no Sōko)

Matsuba shitate (松葉仕立て, “matsuba tailoring”)

Matsuba shitate means that the obi is only folded about 20 to 30cm on the head. Before wrapping it around your body, you have to fold it by yourself and can adjust the length of taiko part and part showing up on front to your body.

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Kyōfukuro obi (京袋帯) or kyōto shitate (京都仕立て, “Kyoto tailoring”)

This kind of obi is tailored the same way as a fukuro obi, which means that it is not folded. You will have to fold it by yourself before putting it on. Kyōfukuro obi are 3m50cm to 3m8cm long, thus one is not able to tie a nijūtaiko (二重太鼓). The length as well as pattern and color make the difference to a normal fukuro obi.

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Chūya obi (昼夜帯) or chūya shitate (昼夜仕立て, “day and night tailoring”)

Chūya obi are not folded like kyōfukuro obi. Most of them are handmade of an old scrap of cloth or unwearable kimono. They have different pattern or color on back and front, so you can show both sides.

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(I don’t own one, so I got the pictures from Shinei)

What I like about matsuba shitate and kyōfukuro obi is that you can decide the width on the front. Hanhaba obi and nagoya obi are tailored with width of 15 to 16cm on the front, but I’d like to have 17 to 18cm. Matsuba shitate and kyōfukuro give you the chance to decide it by yourself when you wrap it around your body.

Recently, there are barely any nagoya obi sold for one reason: They are made order-made, which means that they have the tailoring cots time and money. All of fudangi obi made nowadays are kyōfukuro, which makes them more affordable.

Ok, now we know a lot more about obi and hopefully you’re looking forward to the next lesson. 😀


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