The Book of Kimono

The Book of Kimono

by Norio Yamanaka


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This practical and attractive book makes available for the first time the basic knowledge and vocabulary needed to select and put on a kimono and obi.

Whether for women or men, all kimono are cut and sewn essentially from a single pattern, but a number of variations must be considered, depending on the occasion. Guidelines are given to making these choices, and the way to dress in a kimono, from the preliminaries to tieing the bustle sash, is described in detail and fully illustrated. For women, there are formal kimono, obi and accessories, and the lightweight summer yukata; for men, the yukata and the ceremonial ensemble of kimono, haori coat and hakama skirt. Children's kimono for festive events are also described.

Kimono fashions have evolved over the centuries in response to varied influences. Today modern innovations are making the wearing of kimono at home and elsewhere an attractive alternative to Western garments. These are included here, along with a discussion of aesthetics, the history of the kimono, and the meaning that kimono culture can have for wearers and admirers throughout the world.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780870117855
Publisher: Kodansha USA
Publication date: 03/28/1987
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 144
Product dimensions: 10.00(w) x 7.10(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

NORIO YAMANAKA was born in Shiga Prefecture in 1928. In 1964 he founded the Sodo Kimono Academy, the first institute of its kind to encourage the wearing of Japan's national dress in everyday life. His philosophy is that wearing the kimono properly depends as much on the person's inner nature as on the garment itself. His movement has spread throughout Japan, and more than five million people have been taught how to wear the kimono by the fifty thousand consultants the academy has graduated.
Mr. Yamanaka was appointed chairman of the AllJapan Kimono Consultants Association when it was formed in 1969. He is the author of several books on the kimono in Japanese, and since 1970 he has annually led delegations of more than a hundred members each, traveling to forty-five countries in Asia, Europe and North and South America to familiarize other people with this form of dress. In 1980 and 1982 he was invited to the United Nations headquarters in New York, where he lectured and gave demonstrations on the theme of the kimono and Japanese culture.

Read an Excerpt



A Brief History
-- From Neolithic times to the present

The Kimono
-- Weaving and dyeing
-- The parts of the kimono
-- Standard size
-- Formal kimono

The Haori and Accessories
-- Outer garments
-- Undergarments
-- Footwear
-- Accessories

The Obi
-- Obi development
-- Kinds of obi
-- Obi bows

Putting on Kimono and Obi
-- Preparation
-- Half-collar
-- Tabi
-- Undershirt and half-slip
-- Body pads
-- Full-length under-kimono
-- Kimono
-- Obi
-- Proper kimono appearance

Kimono for Men and Children
-- Kimono for men
-- Putting on kimono and haori
-- Putting on the hakama
-- Kimono for children

Kimono Care
-- Cleaning -- Folding

Kimono Etiquette
-- Posture and movement

Appendix:The Family Crest

[one section from the chapter "Putting on Kimono and Obi"; accompanied in the book by 15 line drawings]

With the under-kimono or kimono slip firmly in place, you are now ready to put on the kimono itself.

1. Standing with your back straight, bring the left and right collar ends together. The back mid seam of the kimono should be directly in line with the middle of your back. To keep the back panel in place, temporarily clip the collar of the kimono to the collar of the under-kimono with a clothespin.

2. With your right hand pull the collar ends directly out in front of you. Take the back mid seam with your left hand and raise the kimono off the floor. Then lower the kimono hem until it is just even with the floor.

3. To determine the width of the outer kimono panel, hold the right kimono panel away from your body and wrap the left (outer) panel around your body until the left collar end is at a point directly under your right armpit.
4.While gently holding the left (outer) panel out to the front, wrap the right (inner) panel around your body. The hem of the inner panel should be raised about 15 cm. from the floor. Any excess material should be neatly gathered and folded above the left hip.

5. Wrap the outer panel over the inner panel. Make sure that the outer collar end comes just to the point directly under your right armpit. The hem of the outer panel should be raised slightly less than half (6-6.5 cm.) the distance the inner panel hem is above the floor. After the kimono has been folded over at the waist, the wrinkles should be smoothed out by pulling to the sides and the excess material adjusted on both sides by making tucks going toward the back.

6. When both panels are correctly positioned, tie a koshi himo sash 2-3 cm. above the waistline to hold them in place.

7. Place your left hand through the left armhole and smooth out the kimono from back to front, making any necessary tucks. Do the same in front with the outer panel. Arrange the bottom line of the tuck in front so that it is straight and neat.

8. Check to see that the front collar of the under-kimono shows properly. Then clip one end of the elastic kimono belt, which is about a shoulder width in length, to the inner panel just above the waist.

9. After arranging the tuck at the right, wrap the kimono belt around the back and fasten the other end to the outer panel.

10. Any wrinkles in back should be taken in with tucks and pushed toward the openings under the sleeves.

11. The excess material under the sleeve openings should now be gathered at the right side and tucked inside the outer panel.

12. Set the waistband (date-jime) along the waistline in back.

13. Bring the waistband to the front. The excess material under the bosom should be pushed to the sides before fastening the waistband with its magic tape.

14. Fastening the waistband completes putting on the kimono.

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The Book of Kimono: The Complete Guide to Style and Wear 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
eleryth on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I suspect that this book is a translation of sections of the textbooks used at Sodo Kimono, as some of the illustrations are the same. Long considered the kitsuke standard for English speakers, this book covers a broad range of basic essentials, such as a brief history of the kimono and obi, different weaves and fabrics, different types of kimono and accessories, kitsuke, care of kimono, and etiquette. The chart of obi lengths/formality is handy (I refer to it often), and the kitsuke directions aren't too bad (line drawings) and one can get an idea of what they're supposed to do. He does have a section for using a biyosugata (the "magic obi aid") to make the fukurasuzume musubi/bow, but has no information on where to get one. The kimono care and etiquette guide are quite handy as well. However, one must keep in mind that the book was published in 1982, and styles have changed since then. Also to keep in mind is that Yamanaka Norio is just one of many people who runs a kimono gakuin, and the thoughts on kimono and style of wearing are his ideas on it; Yamanaka Norio's "Kimono World", not necessarily that of all of Japan. That said, for an all-in-one book, it's not bad, but if one wants more in-depth information about the history and details of kimono, it's better to consult Liza Dalby's "Kimono".
joumanamedlej on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I've seen more comprehensive books on this subject, but they are large and expensive, so this is a good compromise for lighter purses.The opening chapter is a "brief history" with a thumbnail illustration for each period discussed: not an in-depth survey but enough visuals and description to get the general idea and figure out how styles fit with each other.The following chapters cover the making of a kimono, the dyeing methods, different types and occasions to wear them, outer ornaments and garments, footwear, accessories... Most of them are illustrated, and though the pictures are small and black and white, again it is a useful survey to start from. The obi has a chapter for itself, and one of the most interesting sections is putting on the kimono and obi, illustrated step by step for both women and men. There are detailed instructoins for several obi knots. The proper way of wearing a kimono is described, as knowing what it's made of is not enough to draw or wear it properly. There are also chapters on how to clean and care for the kimono, and how to move in it.All in all the book was made to teach people how to wear a kimono properly, which is perfect for our purposes, as illustrators are like directors: they don't just need to know how their actors-on-paper should look, they should also "tell" them how to move.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago