How do you put on a kimono

Put on a kimono


Today, Japanese women often learn to put on a kimono and, above all, to tie an obi in courses or from books, because even mothers can no longer really do it. It is almost impossible without outside help - only those who wear kimono almost every day can do it on their own. I can therefore only give a small overview of exactly one winding method: the "drum", taiko.

The taiko style is mostly, but not limited to, married women. Since there is hardly an opportunity where this style would be completely out of place, it is probably the only one a Japanese woman learns if she is not currently doing a geisha training. In addition to the kimono itself, you need the following items:

  • Nagajuban, a white, kimono-shaped undergarment - strictly speaking, an underskirt and shirt
  • date-jime: a wide waist band with Velcro fastener that holds the kimono in place. One for the bottom, one for the actual kimono
  • obi: stiff belt 30 cm wide and 3-3.6 m long. The first 2 m are folded in half (see also making an obi).
  • obi-age: a scarf, about 30c, wide and 3 m long. If you can't get the real thing, a chiffon scarf is a suitable replacement.
  • two more tapes that are hidden afterwards.
  • obi-jime: a string about 130cm long and 1cm thick.
  • obi-ita: a piece of thin but stiff cardboard, about 10x30 cm
  • obi-makura or odaiko: a pillow that holds up the drum. As a substitute, a stuffed tube of fabric, 20 cm long and 5 in diameter, inserted into a stocking leg.
  • tabi: The socks with the split toe
  • z ri: sandals

First you put on the tabi and the undergarment. Fold the left side over the right (the other way around only for funerals). When the undergarment is snug, tie it with a ribbon or thin sash. Then you can put on the kimono and don't forget to smooth the sleeves of the undergarment inside the kimono sleeves.

You will have noticed that the kimono is longer than you are. That's okay; Now open it wide and pull it up until the hem only comes down to your ankles, then close the kimono, placing the left side over the right. The end of the collar should come down to your waist, and the edge of the left side should go straight down below. The hem on the right half should not be visible under the hem on the left. Now you can use another sash or ribbon to tie the kimono. The excess length arches over the tape and is brushed down into a neat fold. Adjust the collar so that some of the undergarment can be seen.

Putting on the obi is the harder part of it all: First, you put the narrow end of the obi over your right shoulder from behind, so that the end reaches under your chest. The side of the obi where it has two layers should be facing to the right. With your left hand you now reach behind you and pull the other end forward so that it lies horizontally over the narrow end. Hold it there. Now you have your right hand free to continue leading the long end around, over your back and then to the left. Take the long end in your left hand, pull the short end out with your right hand, and pull the obi taut with both hands. Make sure that the excess length of the kimono can be seen as a neat fold just below the obi.

Next you let the short end fall behind you so that it hangs on the right side and bring the long end back onto your back again. This time you place the piece of cardboard under the obi so that it sits flat on your stomach. Now check that the triangle formed by the transition from the narrow to the wide part of the obi is exactly in the middle of your back. It is there? Fine, then further ... Fold it so that the broad end is facing up and fix it exactly over the obi with the help of the Odaiko. Reach down with both hands, take one corner of the broad end and pull it vertically up until the crease touches the odaiko (it's not as difficult as it sounds ...). Align it so that the upper end pokes out about a hand's breadth under the "drum" created in this way. Hold it with your left hand and take the narrow end that you dropped back and stick it through the "drum". Now fix it with the obi-jime in the middle of the obi and hide the odaiko under a decorative sash. The loose ends of the sash are stuffed into the obi.

Done! Now you can put on the zôri and you are ready to go out. When you go, try to keep your knees together. Together with the slippery zôro, the result is a shuffling Gand that is considered elegant. The elegant posture when standing still is with the knees together, the feet close together and the toes turned a little inwards.


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