You may come across some terms in this blog that you do not recognize. Usually, they are Japanese words which have been written using the English alphabet (known as romanization). I often use them when describing a certain aspect of kimono or Japanese culture, as many times, there are words and terms which have no English equivalent. I try my best to explain what these terms are inside the posts, but if see a word without an explanation, please look below for reference:
Awase- lined kimono, worn in winter/fall
Chirimen- textured crepe silk
Date-eri- strip of fabric which can be attached to the kimono collar to give the impression of wearing another kimono beneath the first
Date-jime- Under-wrap to keep juban and/or obi to straight and in place. Can be made of traditional cloth or more modern elastic.
Dochugi- Kimono jacket which overlaps panels and is tied at the side.
Edo Komon- A kimono which looks like a solid color from a distance, but up-close has a pattern made by tiny dots. Can be crested, and has the same formality as Iromuji.
Eri-shin- collar stiffener, usually placed inside the juban collar to provide shape.
Eri-sugata- A detachable collar. Often used to provide the illusion of wearing a juban under a kimono.
Fukuro Obi- Wide,formal obi with pattern only on one side
Furisode- A long-sleeved kimono for unmarried/young women, most often worn for the Coming-Of-Age ceremony. There are three lengths of sleeve: oburisode (105cm), chuburisode (90cm), and koburisode (75cm)
Furoshiki- wrapping cloth for various items
Geta- Casual wooden sandals with two “prongs” coming from the sole, Worn with yukata and some informal komon.
Hadajuban- Kimono underwear. Worn underneath the juban.
Hakama- pleated “trouser” worn on top of kimono. Can be divided like pants or undivided like a skirt. Most often worn by women for graduation and by men at formal occasions. Also worn for certain martial arts.
Hanao- padded straps on zori and geta which can be interchanged.
Han eri- replacement/decorative collar covers, sewn on top of the juban collar to add color and protect the juban collar from stains.
Hanhaba- Half-width obi, informal. Can be worn with yukata and informal komon.
Haori- A “kimono jacket” which tied at the front and worn over kimono.
Haori himo- decorative ties that hold a haori closed.
Heisei– (1989-present). Kimono are subdued, with small patterns and shorter sleeves. “Retro” stylings from the Showa and Taisho periods are making a comeback among the younger generation, however. Mixing western-style clothing and kimono, as well as more “modern” patterns are becoming more common.
Heko Obi- soft obi. Usually worn by men, but more colorful ones can be worn with yukata.
Hikizuri (aka Susohiki)- Kimono most associated with geisha. It trails behind but is worn with an obi, and is usually slightly padded on the hem
Hitoe- unlined kimono, worn in spring/summer
Houmongi- “Visiting wear”. A kimono one step below Tomesode in levels of formality. Has a design that extends from shoulder to hem and on the sleeves. Can be crested. Distinguished from Tsukesage by a continuous design that travels across seams.
Ikat- Fabric whose threads are pre-dyed in the desired pattern before being woven. Results in a “fuzzy” effect of the pattern
Iromuji- A solid-colored kimono. Can be crested, with more crests equaling a higher formality. Can be worn by married or unmarried women. It is the most versatile of kimono since it can be dressed up or down, and worn to many different occasions.
Irotomesode- A colored Tomesode. Came about when black was considered unlucky since it is a mourning color. Can be worn by both married and unmarried women.
Juban/Nagajuban- Under-kimono. A slightly smaller robe which is worn on top of the undergarments but under the kimono. The collar and parts of the sleeves can be seen when wearing a kimono.
Kanzashi- hair ornaments
Kasuri- japanese ikat technique
Katsura- geisha’s wig
Kimono- The traditional dress of Japan. Long and rectangular in shape, with square or rectangular sleeves. Can be made from a variety of materials, but mostly silk.
Kitsuke- the act/art of dressing in kimono
Komon- “Town wear”. A casual kimono with an all-over pattern for everyday wear.
Korin belt- elastic belt with clips to keep the kimono fastened under the bust. Also can be used to keep collars on place.
Koshihimo- long ties that keep a kimono in place while dressing, and also hold up the kimono to the correct length for the ohashori.
Kurotomesode- A black Tomesode. It is the most formal kimono for married women, and has 5 crests.
Maru obi- Wide obi which is fully-patterned on both sides; very formal. Usually only worn by the bride at weddings.
Meiji– (1868-1912). Kimono from this era are characterized by long sleeves, subdued colors, red linings, and large mon.
Meisen- Specialized silk weave made mainly in the Taisho period. The silk threads are pre-dyed, then woven in a specific pattern, oven in resulting in a “fuzzy” texture on the edges of the design.
Michiyuki- knee-length coat with a rectangular neck and snaps, worn over kimono.
Mofuku- “Mourning wear”. An all-black outfit with white accessories that is worn only to funerals, although nowadays small bits of black such as obijime are acceptable in everyday outfits. The kimono is all-black and has five crests.
Mon/kamon- family crests often dyed on formal kimono, usually circular.
Musubi- obi knot tying styles. Most popular is otaiko/taiko (drum)
Nagoya Obi- Obi which has had part of it sewn up into half-width for ease of tying taiko. Usually has pattern only where it will be seen when tied.
Obiage- A silk scarf tied over the obi makura and tucked into top of obi, used to hide the obi makura and provide added color.
Obidome- decorative brooch worn on the obijime
Obi-ita- flat board with ties worn under the obi to keep it from wrinkling in front.
Obijime- A flat or round cord tied over the obi, used to keep musubi in place.
Obi makura- small pillow used to bulk out the obi knot. Tied under the obi in the back.
Ohashori- the fold at the waist in women’s kimono used to bring them up to the correct length.
Okobo- tall wooden clogs worn by maiko, (also known as pokkuri or koppori)
Omeshi- plain weave
Rinzu- Shiny damask-type silk with a woven pattern
Ro- Summer fabric with hundreds of tiny holes woven in lines to lessen weight. Can be sheer or opaque.
Sha- Summer fabric, similar to ro, except with grid-like holes.
Shibori- Traditional method of tie-dye where small knots are tyed in the fabric to form hundred of tiny raised circles when dyed. Circles are raised up from fabric, providing a unique look and texture.
Shigoki Obi- soft tasseled obi, often worn by children.
Showa– (1926 to 1989) Kimono from this period are mixed. Anywhere from Art Deco to garishly-colored and patterned reminiscent of the 70s.
Tabi- Socks with a split toe for wearing zori. Traditionally closed by a series of hooks along the ankle.
Taisho– (1912-1926). Kimono from this era are characterized by large, colorful designs often inspired by Art Deco and the West.
Tansu- traditional wooden storage chests for kimono made of paulwonia wood.
Tatoshi- folded rice-paper wrapping used for storing and protecting kimono
Tomesode- A formal kimono, can have either 1, 3 or 5 mon depending on formality. Pattern is only along the hem, and is usually worn by older married women.
Tsukesage- A kimono with patterns on the left shoulder and bottom hem. One step below Houmongi in formality.
Tsuke-obi- pre-tied obi in two sections. Also known as “Tsukuri obi”
Tsumugi- Textured fabric woven from rougher silk.
Yukata- An informal cotton kimono worn during the summer, usually to festivals.
Yuzen- resist-paste dying which results in a painted-on look
Zori- Formal kimono sandals with a wedge-sole, worn with tabi socks.