Kimono Dressing Contest in Kumamoto 2017

There’s a yearly kimono dressing contest in Kumamoto and it was my second time to participate. Wanna see the outcome? Here we go!

What kind of contest is this?

It’s a contest where you have to wear a kimono (kurotomesode or furisode) with obi (帯) in 6 minutes. All kimono lovers know how hard this is! Of course the way how you put it on follows order of this school (流派 ryūha). Also grace and elegance while putting it on is judged as well as the outcome.


Time has no influence on the result, but you must be finished in 6 minutes. However, the faster you are the more time you have to do a double check on certain points which are eri (衿), o-hashori (おはしょり), suso (裾), and obi. (More about the kimono terminology here.)


And the winner is…

It was my second time to participate in this contest and the last time was 2 years ago, when I was third-placed. And I was so nervous with the judges standing behind me and all the audience in front of me. However, this year I overcame my stage fright and won the gold medal.


Kimono contests in Japan

There are many kimono dressing contests in Japan, but I have to stress that this is the only contest without an extra group for foreigners. In other contests they have 2 groups for Japanese (kurotomesode or furisode) and one group just for foreigners without any regulation on kimono etc. I find this very sad.


To be honest

Of course you have to be member of the academy to join this contest. A big minus! But that’s how Japan (unfortunately) works. Anyway, not every kimono academy teaches “speed dressing” (スピード着付け speed kitsuke) and I bet just this academy teaches “blind dressing” (目隠し着付け mekakushi kitsuke). (The blind dressing contest is only held at the national contest.) And this was actual the reason why I decided to join this academy.

“Blind dressing” (目隠し着付け mekakushi kitsuke) ⓒ Yamada/2016


This year’s National Kimono Dressing Contest will be held in Kobe, where all winner from all prefectures in Japan gather and choose number 1 in Japan. Unfortunately, I can’t participate. I really wanted to be the first foreigner to win this contest, but this mission must wait until next year.

My students came to cheer me on. Thank you! ♡

Picture credits: © private / All rights reserved

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