Japan Kimono
The Art of Kimono
kimono history
As the kimono has another name, gofuku (literally "clothes of Wu") , the earliest kimonos were heavily influenced by traditional Han Chinese clothing, known today as hanfu (kanfuku in Japanese), through Japanese embassies to China which resulted in extensive Chinese culture adoptions by Japan, as early as the 5th century. It was during the 8th century, however, that Chinese fashions came into style among the Japanese and the overlapping collar became particularly a women's fashion.

During Japan's Heian period (794-1192), the kimono became increasingly stylized, though one still wore a half-apron, called a mo, over it. During the Muromachi age (1392-1573), the Kosode, a single kimono formerly considered underwear, began to be worn without the hakama (trousers, divided skirt) over it, and thus began to be held closed by an obi (a belt). During the Edo period (1603-1867), the sleeves began to grow in length, especially among unmarried women, and the Obi became wider, with various styles of tying coming into fashion. Since then, the basic shape of both the men's and women's kimono has remained essentially unchanged. kimonos made with exceptional skill from fine materials have been regarded as great works of art.

Between 1920 and 1930 the sailor outfit replaced the undivided hakama in school uniforms for girls. The 1932 fire at Shirokiya's Nihombashi store is said to have been the catalyst for the decline in kimonos as everyday wear.

The formal kimono was replaced by the more convenient Western clothes and Yukata as everyday wear. After an edict by Emperor Meiji, police, railroad men and teachers moved to Western clothes. The Western clothes became the army and school uniform for boys. After the 1923 Great Kant earthquake, kimono wearers often became victims of robbery because they could not run very fast due to the restricting nature of the kimono on the body and geta slippers. The Tokyo Women's & Children's Wear Manufacturers' Association promoted Western clothes.

Japanese women did not wear panties and several women refused to jump into safety nets because they were ashamed of being seen from below. (It is, however, suggested, that this is an urban myth.) The national uniform, Kokumin-fuku, a type of Western clothes, was mandated for males in 1940. Today most people wear Western clothes and wear the cooler and more comfortable yukata for special occasions.