History of Kimono

History of Kimono
The kimono is not just a form of dressing among the Japanese but is also a clear reflection of how the Japanese history has evolved. The Kimono style has changed from one era to the next throughout its history to what it has become today. The Kimono inception dates back to a period in Japan history referred to as the Jomon period. Then, kimono was in the form of a garment draped loosely over the body since the wearers then did not have much use for clothing as their main activity was hunting and gathering. Between 300 and 550 AD, the pattern of the Kimono changed and became a two-piece garment and this was greatly influenced by the arrival of Chinese who came and settled with the Japanese. They introduced worms made of silk which were used to make kimono using a single color, white.

During the next period between 550 and 710AD, the kimono style was differentiated into three groups namely uniform, formal and court. The kimono was made in newer styles with the sleeves being modified to become longer and wider. The style varied depending on the intended group for which it was being made and the use of color was also introduced. During the next three periods of Japanese history, the kimono evolved to become a very colorful garment that was designed in different colors and patterns for different purposes and age groups. Some new styles were adapted such as the making of the cloth in layers and having it made stiffer to accommodate their culture of sitting on the floor (Dalby, 1993).

Because of the layering, there arose a need to modify the Kimono to facilitate movement and at the same time make it more attractive. Because of this, the use of dye was adapted to create interesting patterns on the cloth and at the same time, it was reduced to a single layer so that it was much lighter and all the patterns and flowers on it could be visible to all. Around 1912AD, the Kimono had developed to become a very important garment among the Japanese with artificial dye being used and different kinds of fabric being imported for use in designing the garment. By the beginning of the 20th century, lighter fabrics were being used to make the kimono and even though silk was still being used, the other fabrics became more popular since they were easily affordable and easy to maintain.

Today, the Kimono is no longer as popular a form of dressing as it used to be before since most of the Japanese have adapted the western mode of dressing and mainly put on the kimono during special events or formal occasions. After the Second World War especially, most of the Japanese discarded the kimono in favor of other clothing styles but this is starting to change. During Japanese weddings for instance, most of the women will be seen in them since they find it to be the most suitable attire for the function. Examples of the special occasions include the christening of a new born baby, in plays or movies, weddings, festivals, funerals, among others. There are also rules as to how Kimono robes should be worn and they define which garment is suitable for what occasion.

Despite the fact that the Kimono is no longer considered a garment to be worn every day, it is still an important garment to the people of Japan and young women are even going to the extent of attending classes where they are taught how to dress up in the garment. There has been a resurgence of the style in the 21st century with more and more Japanese men and women opting for the kimono and especially during their cultural celebrations. There are now a variety of styles for the kimono and sometimes one may require the assistance of another person to be able to put it on (Dalby 1993). Kimono patterns vary depending on age, sex, marital status, occasion, to mention but a few. There are also specific footwear, called geta, for the kimono and the garment comes in different colors which depend on the occasion for which it will be worn. All in all, the Kimono has come of age and is now a garment that clearly defines the identity of the Japanese people.

Among our large selection of Japanese gifts, we offer a wide range of kimono robes. Our kimono coming in many different styles and colors. You are sure to find a kimono that fits your taste. You simply will not find a better selection anywhere else.


Dalby L.C. 1993. Kimono: Fashioning Culture. New Haven: Yale University Press.