Kimono Fashion Show in Kumamoto

Kimono has a wide range of different types and ranks. There are kimono for every day, for a formal event, special kimono for dancing, and of course special kimono for geisha (芸者). All this kimonos where put together in a big show. See what you have missed!

Nihon Wasō Kyōkai (日本和装協会) is a kimono academy founded in Kumamoto 40 years ago. This academy should bring kimono back to its roots, which means wearing a kimono without any unnecessary items. The founder Ms. Kuraza went to Tokyo and the capital of kimono – Kyoto to be trained in original kimono dressing.

The 40th anniversary show was the first and (maybe) the last public show, Nihon Wasō Kyōkai will organize. This show was a rare chance to see high-class traditional kimono dressing through all centuries.

It started with kurotomesode (黒留袖) which is known for its simple tie on the back. Anyway, for traditional dancers or even casual parties ties like this are welcome.


Have you ever heard about kansai maki (関西巻き) and kantō maki (関東巻き)? Sounds like Sushi, but it’s actually another way to express the direction to wrap an obi around one’s body. Kansai maki means wrapping it clockwise and kantō maki is anti-clockwise. This is a not visible but main difference between a geisha in Kansai (area around Osaka and Kyoto) or Kantō (area around Tokyo)


Even for me it was the first time I saw the traditional clothing of upper class women from Heian to the beginning of Kamakura Period (801 – 1300). This cloth is called tsubo shōzoku (つぼ装束) and was worn when going out. The veil wasn’t just to hide the princess’ face, but it also functioned as an insect repellent and protected sensible white skin from aggressive sunbeams.


They also showed the kimono of young ladies: ōdana musume (大店娘) und maiko (舞妓). ōdana musume (left) were daughters of wealthy merchants and could show their wealthiness with expensive fabrics and long, long obi – up to 7 m!!
Maiko (right) can still be seen in Kyoto. It is the stage before becoming a professional geisha (芸者).


Actors of traditional theaters like kabuki (歌舞伎) had great influence on fashion. Famous onna-gata (女形 male actor for female roles) were fashion icons and their style was copied on the streets. Two very popular ties in Edo Period were the jūrokuya musubi (十六夜結び, left) and the heijūrō (平十郎結び, right). Both were originally ties for kabuki, but especially the long tail of heijūrō was admired by many young women.


After the kimono dressing show part, a catwalk show presented kimono for children, kimono from the middle age, kimono for traditional dance, modern kimono and furisode.


I really appreciate the chance to participate in such an amazing show. For me it wasn’t just a favor for my good friend Ms. Kuraza, it was an honor to be invited!


This summer is full of kimono adventures! Follow and join me!

Next adventure: oiran-dōchū in Kumamoto on May 3rd, 2017!


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Read more about kimono, Kumamoto, and me at


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