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A Kimono is a Japanese “T-shaped” traditional garment . It is worn by women, men and children. The word kimono means a “thing to wear”, “ ki ” means wear and “mono” means thing.

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the japanese kimono

A Kimono is a Japanese “T-shaped” traditional garment . It is worn by women, men and children. The word kimono means a “thing to wear”, “ki” means wear and “mono” means thing.

Kimono is the plural in Japanese. Kimonos are straight lined and have wide sleeves. They all wrap to the left side over the right, and are secured by a sash called an “obi.” Kimonos are worn with traditional footwear and split toe socks.

The Japanese Kimono


Today, the kimono is most often worn by women on special occasions. Men wear the kimono at weddings, tea ceremonies and other formal events. Professional Sumo wrestlers are often seen in the kimonos because they are required to wear traditional dress when in public.


The earliest kimonos were influenced by traditional Han Chinese clothing. During the 8th century, Chinese fashions came into style among Japanese.


Kimonos are made from a single bolt of fabric called a “tan.” However, wrestlers need 2 bolts! The finished kimono consists of 4 main strips of fabric with small strips forming front panels and a collar. Kimonos are taken apart to wash and sewn back together by hand. They can be re-tailored to fit a different person. The obi and the kimono is typically made of silk and satin and hand decorated.


A kimono can easily exceed $10,000! An obi may cost several thousand dollars.

Choosing a type of kimono requires knowledge of the garments symbolism and subtle social messages. For example: an un-married woman’s kimono has a longer sleeve, and men’s are worn in more subdued color combinations.

  • Formal kimonos have free-style designs over the whole surface. The pattern of the kimono can also determine in which season it should be worn. For example: a pattern of butterflies or cherry blossoms would be worn in Spring. Water designs would be worn in summer, Japanese maple leaf designs for fall and for winter: bamboo, pine tress and plum blossoms are favorite themes.