Padded Hanten and Burlesque Beauty

wafuku blog aug 12 logo A

wafuku – noun: traditional Japanese clothing

Welcome to my www.wafuku.co.uk Wordpress blog

I’m still dealing with the slow process of putting all the product photos back on my wafuku.co.uk website. My original photo host suddenly wanted a massive amount of money to host them for my website, so I had to find new photo hosting. I then had to find the thousands of photos and upload the, changing the thousands of links to them on the website. This would have been time consuming enough but I found that I needed to colour correct 85% of the backed up photos and that is a very slow process, so, months after losing my original hosting, I am still dealing with the missing photos on the website. There are lots back up now but many, many more to still be done. It is maybe not such a bad thing, really. It may mean my site will lacking a lot of photos for still quite some time but it has made me aware of the need to fix many of them and the improvement is worthwhile. It also make me look through everything on my website and it is nice to have a good look at all the kimonos and other things and remember how nice they are.

This wonderful oil painted tomesode kimono’s photo is much more correct in colour now. I have bought a few oil painted antique kimonos but this is the only oil painted kimono I have ever found. It is very striking and the oil painting doesn’t make it rigid or anything, it is very wearable. I love its craggy landscape.


This reversible, padded, Japanese hanten from my website is perfect for a chilly, wintry day like today. It is so soft, light and cosy. One way round it has a Mount Fuji design and the other way it has a traditional Japanese design called Kamawanu; a pattern of sickle, circle and the hiragana script letter ‘nu’. This pattern was especially popular in Japan’s Edo Era and it represents the meaning, “don’t worry”. This is one of four padded hanten available on wafuku.co.uk, each with different patterns, each reversible and cosily padded.


This is actually a girl’s kimono, worn here by a UK size 8 adult of 5′ 1″ tall. These shichi-go-san girl’s kimonos are always wonderfully colourful, much moreso than most adult ones. Because children always wear their kimonos with a big tuck in each shoulder, making the shoulder narrower, and a big fold over at the waist, making them shorter, they are actually quite a good size for an adult when without those big tucks.

This one, at time of writing, is available on my site for £68.



I got a couple of lovely photos of one of my wafuku.co.uk kimonos, now owned, modelled and photographed by CherryFox, with very kind permission to us them.
By Day, Cherryfox® is a mild mannered professional photographer and Costumier. By night she is a Burlesque Fascinatrix and Sing-and-Fling show girl.

You can also check out my www.wafuku.co.uk website, providing vintage & antique Japanese kimonos & collectables.


Rita Ora.
One of my vintage, silk kimonos, from wafuku.co.uk, modelled by the beautiful Rita Ora.


Please note that any advertisements shown below my posts are put there by WordPress, not by me. I am not responsible for whatever product or service is advertised and it being there does not mean that I endorse or recommend it. 


Forgotten Kimonos, Yakuza Hanten & Japanese Manners

wafuku – noun: traditional Japanese clothing

Welcome to my www.wafuku.co.uk WordPress blog


So many kimonos I had forgotten I had.

When I first started buying kimonos, not realising that I was going to get addicted and buy so many, I didn’t think to keep all the information about each one, such as measurements, age, if that information was known, how much it cost me etc. I didn’t keep any information about the first few hundred garments I bought but eventually it dawned on me that I should, so I started to do it from 2006. Stupidly, I had been saving the information for some months before it then dawned on me that I should also keep the photos provided by the kimono seller.  It took me even longer to think of also printing the information for each and putting it in beside the kimono or whatever it was and yet longer to think to add one of the photos to that printed slip, so I could see what was in the bag without having remove it and unfold it to see that or try to remember what it looked like from just the text description. This means that, on my computer, I have a folder for each year, each containing 12 folders for the months, each containing a folder for virtually every days of the month, each containing numerous folders with information about a garments I bought on that day.  There are thousands of these folders now.

I was searching through those folders recently, way back in the 2006 and 2007 ones, trying to find something specific. Idon’t think I did track it down but I did see many kimonos that I had long forgotten I bought that have been packed away in boxes upstairs since I got them. I have no idea which boxes they are in, sop no idea when I might come across the actual kimonos and add them to my website.

Here are a few of the ones that caught my eye as I searched through those folders.

Colourful Peacock Tomesode Kimono

colourful peacock tomesode

Close up detail

colourful peacock tomesode detail

He may actually be a phoenix but, judging by his body feathers, I think he is a peacock. They tend to be very similarly drawn, with long tail feathers with the ‘eye’ on them.


Gold & Silver Peacock Tomesode Kimono

gold and silver peacock

Detail of the embroidered peacock. The areas that look blue are actually silver.

embroidered peacock detail

This one is definitely a peacock


Spectacular Ships Tomesode Kimono

big ship kimono

Detail of the ship

big ship detail


Cute Print Kimono

This next kimono is not in the boxes, it is one I gave my daughter, but I came across these pictures during my search. It is a kimono in a colour and pattern I have never managed to find again. The pattern, which, at a glance, I initially thought was stylised bunnies, is actually pokkuri (high soled, wooden geta shoes worn by girls and maiko, sometimes called okobo or koppori). The only other time I saw this same design it was on a light blue backgound and on a kimono worn by a maiko (trainee geisha). This is one of my daughter’s and my favourite kimonos. It is a lovely silk crepe.

green zori kimono

Detail of the design

green geta kimono detail


I also found these pictures of a baby boy’s kimono, from the 1950s, that I have kept for myself. It has a very American theme, which was popular in Japan back then, with a cute Wild West design, with Cowboys & Indians (nowadays called Native Americans). It is quite a collectable one.

cowboy kids 1

Details of the design

cowboy kids 2

cowboy kids 3

cowboy kids 4

The back of the kimono

cowboy kids 5


Shimizu No Jirocho Hanten

This next item isn’t one of mine. I couldn’t afford this one. It is a hanten jacket but what makes it unusual is the design on it is that of  Shimizu No Jirocho (1830 – 1893), who was a Japanese gangster (Yakuza). Born in Shizuoka, the adopted son of his uncle Jirohachi Yamamoto, who was a komedonya (middleman-merchant dealing in rice). Although his real name was Chogoro Yamamoto, he was called Jirocho,which was short for Jirohachi’s Chogoro. He took over the komedonya after his uncle’s death but soon turned into a gambler. He built up his following and extended his influence, fighting over territories relating to the Fuji River and maritime transport. In the first year of the Meiji Era (1868), he was appointed Dochutansakugata by the Government-General of the Eastern Expedition. In the same year, the warship Kanrin-maru, of the old Edo Shogunate, was attacked by new government troops while lying at anchor in the Shimizu harbor. Jirocho treated and buried the dead with sincere condolence and became acquainted with Tetsutaro Yamaoka, Takeaki Enomoto and others. After the Meiji Restoration, he engaged in development around the foot of Mt. Fuji and marine transportation business.

The birds on it are chidori (plovers), which tend to flock over the seashore and river beds, and the mon (crests) are katabami (wood sorrel). Below the text there are rolling waves.


A photogtaph of Shimizu No Jirocho

Shimizu No Jirocho photo


I like all sorts of vintage things, not just Japanese ones, and I recently went through old clothes of mine with my daughter. Things I used to wear 20 years ago. She went home with the last of my 1950s dresses, having got most of my other vintage clothes some time back, and among them I found a 1980s dress I used to wear that I had put vintage buttons on. Neither of us wanted the dress, so I removed the buttons; I have no idea what they will be put on next. They are made of painted wood, with metal loops on the back, and are in the shape of black gloves with a light blue edge to the cuffs. They used to be my mother’s when she was young (she’s now 91) but she can’t recall where or when she got them. They always made me think of Schiaparelli (1890–1973) and her Surrealists inspired designs. I think Schiaparelli used glove shaped buttons. I particularly remember her fabulous shoe shaped hat and her Lobster Dress, with the lobster on the sash painted by Dali. Here is a photo of my buttons.

vintage hand buttons


A television show I particularly like is The Big Bang Theory. Every so often I have noticed that the character Penny wears trousers that look as though they have been made from vintage kimonos. I spent absolutely ages trying to get a screenshot of her wearing some. The best I could manage was the one below.


The Big Bang Theory Penny


In Japan, it ‘s considered very rude to talk on a phone, play noisy digital games, eat or drink on public transport. It is also considered very rude to so those first two things in a cafe or restaurant and very ill mannered to talk on a mobile phone or to eat or drink when walking in the street. The Japanese are very well mannered and considerate people and abide by this public etiquette. There are exceptions to the no eating rule, though; on long distance trains one can eat and the stations even sell special bento box meals for these journeys. The sign below shows two examples of what not to do – play a noisy game or eat.

transport etiquette



Happi Days

wafuku – noun: traditional Japanese clothing

Welcome to my Wordpress blog

 get this blog’s RSS feed 


Happi Days

Happi are lightweight, cotton jackets, with standard style sleeves, not the deep, kimono style ones, and they are worn by the Japanese at festivals and sports events and sometimes worn as shop livery or by performewrs, such as taiko troupes. You can see one in the picture above.

Samue are suits with wrap-over jackets (similar to  jinbei tops), that have standard type sleeves and not kimono style ones, and trousers (often with elasticated at the ankles or with drawstrings there). Samue were originally field workers’ wear and can be seen worn by Buddhist monks when travelling. They are comfortable, casual wear. I only have one left on the site, as I have only ever bought a few. I am not sure if I have any more in my boxes but, if I have, it won’t be many and I don’t know when I will come across them. You can see a samue in the picture below.

Below, you can see a hanten. These tend to be slightly heavier cotton than happi and are often worn as work livery and sometimes seen at festivals. They too have standard style sleeves and not kimono style sleeves. They are also worn by Japanese firemen, whose hanten have belts. In the past, for fire fighting, they wore specially heavy weave hanten, matching trousers and special hoods that cover the whole head apart from the eyes and wore the lighter weight hanten at all other times. The firm, heavy weave helped make them fire resistant. Nowadays, I believe, they only wear the lighter weight ones and, when actually fighting fires, wear more modern fire fighting apparel.

I don’t have many hanten. I laid aside the one in the photo quite some time ago and have no idea where I put it, so it isn’t on the site yet but I will add the few I have as I find them. The one below isn’t mine but it is very cute: a modern, fleece, Elmo, Japanese, hoodie hanten.

The next picture shows a jinbei. These are light, summer tops, with wrap-over fronts that tie at one side. They sometimes come with matching shorts

I have that jinbei plus a jinbei and shorts set to add soon to the Jinbei section of my website. Children’s sizes of all these garments are in the Children’s Clothing section of the site and not in the new sections, which are only for adult ones.


Here, below, you can see a girls’ red kimono; it is a kimono for Shichi-Go-San celebrations. Shichi-Go-San (Seven-Five-Three) is a traditional rite of passage and festival day in Japan for three and seven year old girls and for three and five year old boys, held annually on the weekend nearest to 15 November. Women’s kimonos are exceedingly long, because females wear kimonos with a big fold-over at the waist that shortens them when on, so these girl’s kimonos are excellent display items, as they are not nearly as long as adult ones.

If you want to wear a kimono as a pretty coat or want to wear one without the traditional, shortening fold-over at the waist, this girl’s size is great on an adult because children worn without the big fold-over at the waist, these kimonos for seven year old girls are surprisingly long and calf to ankle length on an adult, depending on height. Because children also wear them with big tucks sewn into the shoulders that make them narrower,  without those tucks, the shoulders are also wide enough for many adults to wear. My UK size 10, adult daughter wears this girl’s size, closed with a simple, 3 inch deep belt, and, as she is a fairly petite adult,  they are about ankle length on her. My older sister wears this size too, open, as lightweight, pretty, three-quarter-length-sleeved coats that are mid calf length on her. When in hospital recently, she also wore one as an open robe, which was greatly admired and brightened up her stay there.