Unsewing Kimono

August 24, 2018

Previously, I have written an essay about Doyo no Mushiboshi (土用の虫干し, airing Kimono during hot summer days) here. Today, I would like to write about unsewing Kimono (着物).


My mother and grand mother used to unsew their kimono and washed. The length of unsewed Kimono ran up to 12 meters, and the disassembled fabric were often reformed into a new Kimono with a brand-new lining, or into little other items such as pocket bags. Considering such culture of Japan, Kimono is meant to live its life until it becomes a tiny piece of rag. As for cotton Yukata (浴衣), it is often reformed into dust-cloth or baby's diaper, and Obi (帯, Kimono belts) to be pouches or containers for tea ceremony paper, etc.


I had my favorite Kimono when I was a Maiko (舞妓). It was a purple-toned Kimono with a beautiful drawing of Nanten (南天, sacred bamboo) tree, half covered with snow. In addition, from the shoulder part to the waist, snow flakes were falling down. The contrast of red Nanten berries and white snow flakes was so beautiful. According to the rule of Maiko, the Kimono was for February, and I was very happy every time I wore it. When I quit Maiko, My Yakata (屋形, Maiko's dormitory) people unsewed the kimono to make a new Futon (布団) and gave it to me as a farewell gift. My favorite Kimono is also living its life until the very end.


Lately, I am into Danshari (断捨離, decluttering and living in minimalism), however, throwing my Kimono away is a very difficult task to me. I might as well unsew my old Kimono and reform them into some nice and useful items.


Click here to see a blog by a former Maiko, "Do You Know?"




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