Kimono will give you long use as long as you dry it in the sun once in a year. This work is called “Mushiboshi”.
You air clothes in order to prevent mildew including chrysalises and eggs and to remove moisture. This work is conducted normally in the dry season. We aired clothing in the dog-days in the old days. However, in this season, the weather is unsettled and very humid. Therefore, though it depends on the regions, winter is suitable to conduct mushiboshi. When you air kimono, it is much better to air it within doors, or kimono would be weathered by the sun and wind, so pecial care should be taken on this point. If possible, it might be better to use a bomboo hanger on which to hang kimono one by one. If you have no enough room, it also works to open wrapping paper and put kimono with folded. And do not forget to check if there is any worm-eaten peaches or not before you tidy it up. You can air it for four hours arund noon.
If you can not do it nohow, you also can leave the closet open and ventilate there.
You need not to conduct mushiboshi the kimono which you often wear as long as you dry it soon after you use it.
Tatoushi (kimono wrapping paper)
Kimono are wrapped in a large piece of paper when storing kimono. This paper is called “tatoushi”. Tatoushi is made of washi (Japanese paper). It has an excellent ventilation capability and absorbs and releases excess moisture from kimono. So it is said to prevent kimono from getting moldy. Papers other than washi are poor in ventilation capability, so it is not suitable for wrapping kimono. On the other hand, some suggest that kimono can be easily infested with bugs when they are wrapped with tatoushi. So there are people who claim it is better not to wrap kimono with tatoushi if you are keeping kimono in a chest made of paulownia wood which is great in humidity control. However, it is easier when kimono are wrapped in tatoushi considering the trouble of taking kimono in and out of the chest.
In general, when you buy a new kimono or send kimono for washing or treatment, these kimono will be sent to the place wrapped in new tatoushi. Using this tatoushi will answer the purpose for the time being. Also, cardboards are sometimes used to prevent kimono from losing its shape. But it is just a paper that absorbs humidity easily unlike Japanese papers. So you need to remove it right away. Leaving it will cause molds to infest.
Maruarai and Araihari (washing of kimono and stretching and drying pieces of kimono after washing)
There are 2 ways to wash kimono, maruarai and araihari. Maruarai is just like dry cleaning as it is called for normal clothes. Kimono are washed as they are using special washing agents. Its drawback is that it is hard to remove water-soluble dirt such as sweat, but you can remove stains or dirt in a relatively short time and inexpensively. When you say you are going to send kimono for washing, it usually means maruarai. Araihari is a traditional way of washing kimono. First, you unsew kimono and wash with water. You will then make kimono again from the scratch. Because water washed kimono are dried as they are stretched on a board, it is called araihari (wash-and-stretch). It takes time to unsew and remake kimono from scratch, and it also costs more. But this method will remove stains and dirt which cannot be removed with maruarai method. If it is your precious kimono, you should consider araihari after light stains and dirt do not seem to go off with maruarai.
Until the early Showa period, there was a custom of doing araihari in each family. Everyone unsewed and then remade kimono.
Now, we almost never do araihari at home. However, there are still surprisingly many people who can make kimono from scratch after washing, using techniques they learned back in the days.
Ro-silk gauze and shya-silk gauze
summer kimonos have two kinds of silk guzes, ro and shya. Both are “cloths with translucency ,” but a close look shows as if ro-gauze has lines at an equal interval. Shya-gauze has no such lines but looks transparent evenly all over.
The ro-gauze appears to have lines because a part with a gap and that without comes alternately, and the part with a gap is called “ro-me.” The ro-me that runs laterally is called Yoko-ro (Lateral-ro) and lengthwise Tate-ro (lengthwise-ro). Sha historically are older and are easier to weave. However, there had been a problem of laying patterns beautifully as there was too much gap. So then Ro were created as an impoved version of Sha in near the Edo period. Ro showcase colors more beautifully, and are not excessively see-through. So many summer kimono we see now are made of Ro. However, many people still adore Sha as they provide more cooling effect, and Sha have this distinctive gentle texture. Also, Sha are sometimes made into “Sha-Awase” by stacking two fabrics together. These are not commonly used, so you can tell how much she loves kimono if you see a person wearing Sha-Awase.
Hassun Nagoya and Kyu-sun Nagoya
There are 2 types of Nagoya obi, hassun Nagoya obi and kyu-sun Nagoya obi.
Hassun Nagoya obi are made of obi (kimono belt) fabrics which are hassun (about 30cm) in width, and only their tare (trails) are folded and sewn. The part wrapping around the body stays as they are, and there are no sash padding are used either.
As no sash padding are used, obi fabric itself is stiff. But it’s distinctive because the finished obi are light. Kyu-sun Nagoya obi are made of obi fabrics which are kyu-sun (about 34cm) in width, and it is worn so both sides of obi are folded into the inner part of obi. They are folded in two at the trunk, and in some cases lining fabrics are sewn without folding obi. In either case, sash padding are inserted. Obi fabrics are thin and soft. But sash padding are inserted, so the finished obi are heavy and thick. There is no limitation of obi fabrics like hassun Nagoya obi, so many Nagoya obi seen nowadays are kyu-sun obi.
Because it is easier to make hassun obi, and kyu-sun obi’s finishing look is more profound, it is said that hassun obi are more for casual use. However, it is hard to say which obi are of higher rank as there are gorgeous looking hassun Nagoya obi and light-weight kyu-sun Nagoya obi. Both obi can be used as Nagoya obi.
The Kasane means layers of kimono or to layer kimono, but it also means the combination of color.
It is referred to as ” (combination of color)” and it is the abbreviation. For example, “Kiyanagi-no-Kasane” means the combination of colors of thin yellow in the front side and green in the lower side. It is not necessarily refer to the colors of the kimono worn top and under, but sometimes the outer and the lining. It is the Heian period that the concept of Kasane-no-Irome was born and each combination of colors was established with name. However, it is said that it is more recently, the Edo period that it was referred to as Kasane-no-Irome.
It is not the usual expression which uses in daily life, but there is a person who is aware of the Kasane-no-Irome when combining colors for kimono and inside cloth used around cuff and hem. In addition, when the bride wears 12-layered ceremonial kimono at a wedding, it seems to follow the Kasane-no-Irome traditionally. Recently, apart from the color of the traditional Kasane-no-Irome, the beautiful color conbination may be referred to as Kasane-no-Irome.
Japanese names for colors
The are many words in Japanese that describe colors – for example, among the names for different shades of red, we have “hiiro” – scarlet, “akaneiro” – madder red, and “enjiiro” – dark red, and many, many others. There is a trend to use these names to describe colors because they sound “cooler” than standard colors, but they also help accurately describe the actual colors that are hard to convey otherwise. There is also a theory that says that back when color charts weren’t in use, they helped decide the color of a kimono. Even now you can see the Japanese names for colors displayed alongside photos of items displayed in online shops, as sometimes the pictured color seen on a computer screen can differ slightly from the actual one.
Some of Japanese colors are registered in JIS (Japan Industrial Standards) as common color names. Furthermore, aside from that, there is an organization whose name roughly translates to “Research Institute for Japanese colors” that makes decisions about guidelines and such regarding colors in Japan. They picked colors that are considered traditional to Japan. For example, one of the colors mentioned previously, “hiiro”, isn’t listed in JIS, but “benihi” is registered as “a vivid, yellowish red”, “akaneiro” is quoted as “deep red”, and “enjiiro” as “strong red”.
Date-eri (neckband for show)
The date-eri or kasane-eri is the decoration neckband to put between the collar for under kimono and that of kimono. It is mostly used in formal kimono dress, but also worn as a simple decoration in casual dress recently.
Originally high-class kimonos were worn in layers, but it went simplified and then we began to use the Date-eri to show as if we wear layers of them. There is no particular rule for the color or the material, so you can choose one according to your taste.
No particular rule how much to show either, often 1-2 millimeters or so in the width. Note that it is not always necessary to wear it even in formal dress. Many don’t wear Date-eri but rather make gorgeous Han-eri (quality collar for an under kimono) or just prefer simpler way of dressing. It is just cloth, so you may be troubled how to fasten it when you wear it for the first time; it can be fixed generally with the clips or the likes, or sewn on the Han-eri, too. In doing this you have to fix or sew it only by the part behind the neck and arount the shoulders so that you can adjust how much to show from the front neckline in dressing.
Kimono for children
Kimono for children has also the same shape as the kimono for adult basically. However, since the useless cloth comes out in the same kimono making for adult, we have devised a way of cutting. Special kimono for children called “Hitotumi” or “Yotsumi” can be made depending on the difference in this cutting method. The kimono for adults is called “Hondachi”.
Because children grow fast, we make kimono slightly bigger in “Hitotumi” and “Yotsumi”. Children wear “Hitotumi” and “Yotsumi” which sew darts in part of the waist and the shoulder. The part sewing darts and sewing darts are called “Kataage” and “Koshiage”. You make darts at “Koshiage” and “Kataage” narrow little by little every time kimono becomes smaller. You can wear with just the right size without retailoring. Children around 3 years old or less wear Hitotumi, children from 3 years old to around 10 years old wear Yotsumi, children over around 10 years old wear Hondacchi with Kataage and Koshiage, and children over 13 years old wear Hondachi without Kataage and Koshiage. Kimono which 3 years old children wear on top of the komono in the Seven-Five-Three Festival is called “Hifu”, that is, the overcoat. It is not necessary for them to wear it, but the heavy band is not required because the band part is hided in the overcoat and the burden on the child becomes lighter. The Hifu has become typically used today.
Sechushin and Wakinui
“Sechushin (middle of the back) and Wakinui (side seam) are terms frequently used at Kimono making and wearing. Sechusin is the straight stitch from the top to bottom on the back of a Kimono. To wear a Kimono beautifully, the stitch should looks straight in the middle of your back. If the size of the Kimono does not fit you, the stitch under the lower back would not appear in the middle of your body, but this is acceptable. However, in this case, you still have to make sure that the stitch is not on a slant.
Wakinui is a term used for western clothing as well, and means the seams between the front and back bodies of a garment. Above the lower back, Wakinui should fit to the side of wearer’s body, but under the lower back, they do not have to be exactly on the line. When you make a Kimono from a cloth, there would be some surplus width on the cloth, and it should be hidden inside as a margin for a seam. Because of the hidden cloth, a small Kimono often can be made wider, by undoing Wakinui and sewing it again. A large Kimono also can be made smaller in the same way. Although it is difficult to resizing an authentic Kimono, some resize Yukata (casual summer Kimono) by themselves.