The kimono is a traditional Japanese garment, which in Japanese means “suit” or “something worn.” “Kimono” is derived from the word “ki” meaning life, and “mono” meaning goods. Kimonos are worn by both men and women. Women’s kimonos are like long dresses, while men’s kimonos are more like suits. In Japan, women are often seen in kimono, while men usually only wear kimonos for weddings, tea ceremonies, and other formal events. The one exception to this rule are sumo wrestlers, as they have to wear kimonos anytime they go out in public. There are many different types of kimonos, ranging from informal to very formal. The formality level of the kimono is determined by the woven patterns and colors. The type of kimono used can show age, marital status, and level of formality of the event attended. The types of kimono in Japan are:
• Kurotomesode is the most formal type of black kimono for married women. Kurotomesode has a family crest (kamon) in three places: back, upper chest (right / left), and rear arm (right / left). This kimono is worn only by women, and because the sleeves are short, it shows that the woman is married. It is most often worn in weddings by the mother or the bride and mother of the groom.
• Irotomesode is a colored kimono worn by adult married women. Irotomesode are worn to events where it is forbidden to wear kurotomesode. They are unique in that there are no patterns on the upper half of the body or sleeves.
• Uchikake is a formal kimono that can be white or bright red. It is only worn by brides or in a stage performance.
• Mofuku is a grieving kimono to wear to funerals of close relatives. The mofuku is all black.
• Furisode is the most formal kimono for unmarried young women. Furisode have bright colors and striking motifs. The trademark of this kimono are the long sleeves that extend all the way to the floor. Furisodes are suitable for formal ceremonies, wedding receptions, and graduations
• The Hōmongi kimono replaces the furisode when a woman marries. The characteristic of hōmongi is a motif that goes throughout the front and rear. Hōmongi can be used when attending wedding receptions, tea ceremonies, or to celebrate the New Year.
• Iromuji is semiformal kimono, but it can be a formal kimono if it has a family crest. Iromuji are made of soft colored materials such as light blue, pink, and yellow. The iromuji can be worn for weddings if it has the family crest on it.
• Komon is a casual kimono for women who are not married. The hallmark of this kimono is the pattern, which is simple, repetitive, and small. Komon can be worn to dinner parties, reunions, or meetings with friends.
• Yukata is a casual kimono, usually made of cotton or a synthetic fabric. Yukata can be worn by men and women. They are the typical dress code for guests at ryokan, traditional Japanese inns. They are becoming popular wear for summer festivals.
• Montsuki is a formal kimono for men. The montsuki is typically worn with hakama and haori. The back of the montsuki is decorated with the family crest. It is only worn for very formal ceremonies, such as the reception of the award of the emperor/government or a wedding.
• Kinagashi is a men’s kimono used for daily wear. Kabuki actors wear these kimonos when rehearsing. These types of kimonos do not have the family crest on them.
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