yukata

Appliquéd Kokeshi & Winter Kimonos

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wafuku – noun: traditional Japanese clothing

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Kokeshi Appliqué Waistcoat.
Back in the 70s my mother bought three appliquéd, quilted waistcoats while on a trip to America. She loves them and still wears them, so last Christmas I made her a grey one with silhouettes that represented her garden and the wildlife in it, then I made her another for this last Christmas, with chickens on it because she used to have chickens back in the 1960s and I remembered that, when I was a child, she painted little cockerels onto all her biscuit tins, so the waistcoat is a memento of those things. It will be her 96th birthday next month, so I made her one more, this time it represents my love of Japanese things. I bought a pattern for a small quilt from The Gourmet Quilter and adapted some of the appliqué items from that for my mothers new waistcoat.

Kokeshi doll waistcoat

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I also bought a couple of inexpensive kokeshi brooches for myself, as mementos of making her the waistcoat.
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Yukata Times Magazine.

I wish this magazine was easily available in the UK. Yukata are ultra-casual, summer kimonos that are still very popular in Japan and worn by many to summer festivals etc. Further down this page you can see some fabulous, less informal kimonos for winter.

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Tasuki
Tasuki are used to hold the long, swinging kimono sleeves out of the way while working wherever they might be a nuisance if hanging loose. You can get tasuki clips, like the beaded one in that picture (available on my wafuku.co.uk website), which threads through the obi and clips onto the sleeves, providing a very elegant option to hold them out of the way, or you can simply use a koshi himo (soft tie) to do the job, as you see in the diagram. I was sent the diagram picture by a friend, so don’t know who to accredit for it.

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Winter Kimonos
Check out all the wonderful kimonos in this wa-art.net site’s display of winter kimonos – HERE. I particularly love the three below but there are many more at that link.

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Want to see some stunning kimonos and fantastic kimono styling? Check out the Akira Times blog.

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

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

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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. 

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Ama Geta Cruet & Aloha Shirt Origins

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wafuku – noun: traditional Japanese clothing

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

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Ama Geta Cruet.
I bought this cute cruet set on eBay, from a seller in the USA. How could I possibly resist salt and pepper pots in the shape of ama geta? As you can see, they were a little dusty when they arrived but they have cleaned up nicely.
Geta are Japanese shoes, usually made from wood, and ama geta are ones with toe covers, which are usually removable and held on by tying or with elastic, to keep feet warm and dry during rain or snow. The back of the foot is protected by the kimono, so only the toes need to be covered. There are different types of Japanese geta, all of which you can find information about in my Japanese Footwear post on this blog (you can use the blog’s search to find it).

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Hawaiian shirts began with kimono textiles.
Hawaiian shirts, also known as aloha shirts, were originally were shirts worn by children in Hawaii. Sugar cane and pineapple plantation workers, mostly immigrants, made clothing, including kimonos, with imported textiles, in order to supplement their extremely low incomes. The colourful shirts that they made from leftover scraps for their children then became a fad among teenagers on Hawaii in the 1930s and many tourists who saw them wanted to take one of these bright, summery shirts home, as there was nothing like them available anywhere else, so the tourists got the local Hawaiian tailors to make them one.

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Ellery J. Chun, after gaining an economics degree at Yale, went to work for his father, Chun Kam Chow, in Honolulu because his father’s dry goods store was not doing well during the depression and, after a short while in Hawaii, Ellery realised that these colourful, short sleeved shirts were ever popular with tourists, so he hired a tailor to make them for the store. There were no authentic, colourful Hawaiian textiles in those days, so he imported the most brightly coloured and boldly patterned textiles he could find from Japan, ones that the Japanese produced to make kimonos. He displayed the shirts in the window of his father’s shop and they sold extremely well.

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In time his  sister, Ethel Lum, started designing prints for the shirts with pineapples, palm trees, tropical flowers, exotic birds, ukuleles, and other motifs associated with Hawaii. These shirts with the new designs sold for 95 cents and sold even better than the original ones. The shirts gained interest in other countries when the tourists went home, in turn creating interest in Hawaii and likely adding to its tourism. The Hawaiian shirt was clearly more than just a passing fad.

Many famous figures were to be seen wearing them, both in their films and in their private lives, adding to their popularity.

Hawaiian-shirts

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Tom Sellick, as the character Magnum, revived the popularity of the aloha shirt in the 1980s.

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Many designers can’t resist the Hawaiian shirt or its influence and it crops up now and then on the catwalk.

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Elvis helped make them high fashion in the 50s.

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This is an interesting twist on a Hawaiian shirt, one I bought for a friend, with a great Che Guevara motif. It is a nice mix of Hawaiian style and a motif that was especially popular during my friend’s hippy youth and still is a bit today.

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There are some great Hawaiian shirts out there and Hawaiian style shirts. Below you can see a Tommy Hilfiger one with hibiscus flowers, a very typical Hawaiian motif.

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A typical island print, with palm trees and hibiscus.

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Loud and leafy

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Planet Hollywood got in on the act of the Hawaiian style shirt too.

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Mambo is a brand that does great, loud, lively and quirky designs like these next two.

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Bold and bright with orchids, palms and parrots and a surf board, as it is a shirt popular with surfers too, as is Hawaii, a great place for surfing..

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Below, wearing an aloha shirt, is a very young Tony Curtis

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Leonardo DiCaprio and others in the stylishly designed production of Romeo & Juliet

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Dennis Quaid

Dennis Quaid

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Jared Leto, who seems to greatly favour the Hawaiian shirt and has many of them

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and all this started commercially with Japanese kimono fabrics.

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One of my kimonos being modelled by the singer Rita Ora

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

www.wafuku.co.uk

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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. 

Pretty Things & Helpful Tips

wafuku – noun: traditional Japanese clothing

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Does anyone know why my blog layout is confined to the left side of the browser window?
When opened to full screen in Chrome browser, my layout only covers 50% of the window width and in Firefox it is just around 60% of the width, with just plain black background on the right side. I don’t know why this is and I can’t find anything in the WordPress options to make it spread over the entire window. I want the menu strip down the extreme right side and the body of the blog to entirely fill the rest of the width. If anyone has the answers, please let me know via a comment.

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How to tie men’s haori himo
I want to start this post with this instruction diagram because I was asked for it by someone. My previous one had Japanese text but this one can easily be followed with no text. It also shows how a himo can be attached to the little loops on the haori but men’s himo are more often hooked onto those, with little S shaped metal hooks. This means the himo only has to be tied once, since it is unhooked to unfasten it, not untied.
Women’s haori himo are tied differently from men’s ones and are normally untied to unfasten the haori. A man’s himo can be threaded into the haori loops and tied each time it is worn, if one has no hooks, and some women’s himo, often ones that are a string of beads or a decorative chain, are hooked on and off instead of tied.

If you have no hooks you can make some out of a hairgrip, using pointed nosed pliers to cut and bend it into two S shaped hooks. I needed two pairs of pliars, one to hold it and one to bend. You may need to file the cut end to smooth it off so it doesn’t catch on things.  You can see the proper hooks in the picture below. Sometimes a necklace clasp is attached to each end and used to clip the himo onto the haori’s loops.

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I thought I would show you this antique haori from my website.
It is the longer length, with the much deeper sleeves that these older ones have. I like the lovely soft blue colour of the silk. It is shown being worn by a UK size 8-10 woman and she wears it gathered at the back and with the front edge folded back, lying open at the front, held by a wide belt. Although haori are designed to be worn on top of Japanese kimonos, they do look fantastic with western world clothing.

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Shibori Long Haori.
Here is another longer length, antique haori, also with the much deeper sleeves. This one is shibori (tie dye) silk and has a cute upper lining with ships on it. The external design is kiku (chrysanthemums). Shibori silk is highly prized in Japan because it takes a long time to produce when it is hand done, as this haori is. Because it takes a lot of time and skill, it is also very expensive. It is often seen on obiage (obi scarves), as this was a way to have some shibori without it costing an arm and a leg, since it was only on a small item. It still made the shibori obiage much more expensive than one with none on it, of course, but shibori clothing could be out of many people’s reach.

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The ships on the lining are rather nice.

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Here is the front…

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I have a handy tip for mobile phone owners.
The cable on phone chargers is notoriously bad for splitting where it enters the end fittings. This is because that is the point that most often gets bent and that splits the plastic coating and eventually breaks the wires. To stop it happening, you can take the spring from a ballpoint pen and wind it around the cable, making sure to hook the end over the thicker part on the cable, to hold the spring in place. This spreads the stress on the wire so that it is no longer all at that very end point and causing it to weaken and possibly split. You can see what I mean from the picture of mine, below.

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Kansai Yamamoto Yukata Kimonos.
Below are two Kansai Yamamoto kimonos from my website (I have some of his geta too). Kansai Yamamoto is the Japanese designer who designed David Bowie’s costumes for the Ziggy Stardust tour many years ago. He still designs clothing and does a range of different types of kimonos and Japanese footwear.
These kimonos are folded and stitched closed, so I can’t show them opened out, but you can see the patterns on the cotton.

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The ball on it is called a temari (sometimes just written as mari). Temari are traditional, Japanese, decorative balls, often quite large, which are bound in different coloured threads to create the designs. You can see a closer view of it in the next photo. It has some nice, delicate, gold outlines, as do the stamens of some of the peonies.

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This next one is a darker one, in colouring very popular in yukatas just now.

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Closer view…

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Some Kansai geta too…

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and another…

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Temari.
As I mentioned above, temari are Japanese, decorative balls, with a pattern created by covering them in thread. Traditionally they were created by parents or grandparents and given to children on New Year’s day and were often made from the thread of old kimonos. I only have one or two temari, though not the ones in this picture, which were made by an 88 year old woman. Flickr user, NanaAkua, photographed this large and beautiful collection of temari created by her 88-year-old grandmother who began to master the art in her 60s.  Click on that picture to open a page where you can see 500 of the temari she made.

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and a few more pictures here.

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Noren.
I’ll finish off today’s post with some noren. The first (blue) one isn’t one of mine, the second one (with puppies) is.
The blue one has Japanese text on it that says “iki”. Iki means understated elegance or quiet elegance. It is considered an art, an admirable trait to be iki.

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This next noren is very cute, with the back view of a pair of puppies enjoying hanami (the annual cherry blossom viewing).
Noren are split curtains, hung at doors but sometimes, nowadays, used as room dividers or hung on the wall to be decorative. They are often hung from shop doors and you see them at the doors of tea rooms and geisha houses etc. Two strips is usual but you sometimes find them with more. you part the strips as you walk through. Both of these are two strip noren, roughly 85 x 150cm, split up the centre.

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Here are the puppies close up…

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

www.wafuku.co.uk

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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 its being there does not mean that I back or recommend it. 

Kimonos for Dogs, Suffering Relative & Eerie Screams

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I found a site selling kimonos for dogs; most bizarre. They are little yukata kimonos, complete with obis. Click this doggy kimono site link to visit the site; it’s all in Japanese but if you don’t read Japanese it’s still amusing to see the pictures. I have put one of their pictres below.

dark blue foral kimono

I’ve been having a somewhat stressful couple of days. My elderly mother fell off a step onto hard ground and broke her arm right up at the ball joint, so putting it in a cast is not going to fix it, she has to have an operation to have a rod and pins put in and, being 88 years old, an operation is very risky, so very worrying. In the meantime she has been sent home for 10 days with nothing done to the broken arm, so she is in great pain, despite being on extra strong, prescribed painkillers, which make her rather woozy and frequently sick. My brother came up from Nottingham tonight, so I now have help to tend her and try to get her to eat, for a few days, since feeling sick makes her unable to eat but painkillers with no food are not good and make her feel more sick but she can’t do without them; a bit of a vicious circle. I asked our doctor for anti nausea pills for her today, so hoping they kick in by tomorrow and she can bear to eat again. One does feel rather useless when seeing her in great pain and feeling so ill.

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A Barn Owl

I can hear another owl outside. This one doesn’t hoot, it’s a barn owl and they make the scariest noise, an incredibly loud and extremely eerie screech, like a woman screaming in abject pain and fear, over and over. The first time I heard one it really freaked me out. I had no idea what it was. I heard this screaming and my first instinct was to phone the police, thinking it was someone screaming in terror, but then it repeated over and over, with no variation in tone, so I realised it could not be human. It sounded a bit like the noise they often use in movies for pterodactyls. As I live in the countryside, surrounded by darkness at night, I certainly wasn’t going out to try to find out what was making the noise. It was months before I learned what it was. Luckily one doesn’t hear it often. Even though I now realise that this hair raising scream is just a barn owl, it still feels very creepy to hear it. If you are curious about the sound, you can hear a recording of a barn owl by clicking this link – barn owl sound. Imagine that sound being repeated over and over, when you’re in a cottage in the countryside, surrounded by pitch darkness and you have no idea what is making the sound


 


Children’s Japanese Kimonos

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Children’s, Japanese kimonos, as well as looking fabulous on children and making wonderful newborn/christening gifts, are ideal as display items, as they are much smaller than adult kimonos, so need less wall space. One can frame them, like the examples below, or simply hang the kimono from a narrow bamboo pole and pin the bottoms of the fronts out. The exceptional artwork on them makes them a striking display item. One silk, baby’s kimono I have in my personal collection has a wartime design on it, with soldiers, aircraft, tanks etc. It seems a very strange subject to have on a small child’s kimono but was seen as a patriotic theme during the war.
A pure silk, child’s kimono, like those shown below, is not an inexpensive item. They cost hundreds and even thousands of pounds (GBP), which makes vintage one, in good condition, a very good purchase, as it is a fraction of the price.

 


Japanese Kokeshi Dolls – wafuku.co.uk – Vintage Japanese Kimonos

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Kokeshi dolls
Kokeshi are traditional, Japanese dolls, with a very recognisable and specific style
. Originally whittled by men at work, to take home to their children. They are very simple in design, a head and a body, usually with painted clothing and features, and no separately carved arms.
Below you can see pictures of the favourite one I own; a very odd choice for a kokeshi doll, as it is a Christian nun and Christianity is certainly not the most common religion in Japan. I love it because it is such an anomaly

Another favourite of mine is the kokeshi doll below; a 1950s, nodding head, nesting kokeshi. The head is made to turn and wobble and the doll opens up to reveal a little boy kokeshi hidden inside. I bought a box containing about ten of these, kept 4 for myself, my daughter and friends and sold the rest.

There are so many different kokeshi dolls. made in every style thinkable, and now there is a craze for collecting Momiji Dolls, clearly based on kokeshi, as you can see from the photo of a Momiji Doll below.

 


Kitagawa Utamaro Ukiyoe Geisha Print Juban Kimono – Displayed

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In the photograph you can see a most unusual juban (naga juban) kimono with famous ukiyoe images of geisha. These images are from woodblock prints by Kitagawa Utamaro (1754-1806). This kimono has been made by someone, in Japan, by creating a patchwork of the fabric pages from a textile sample book. It belongs to my daughter who has it hanging on her bedroom wall. Being a juban kimono, it is shorter than an outerwear kimono, because jubans are not worn with a fold-over of fabric at the waist, so they are more or less ankle length, depending on one’s height, whereas outerwear kimonos are deliberately made way too long, so a fold-over (ohashiori) can be made at the waist when they are worn; being shorter makes it easier to display.

When a child, my daughter had a colouring book full of these famous prints, which she absolutely loved. When I saw this juban kimono for sale, I had to buy it for her. If I’d had the wall space to display it in my own home, I might have been very tempted to keep it for myself.

ukiyoe juban kimono

Video part 1 – How To Put On A Nagoya Obi – wafuku.co.uk Vintage Japanese Kimonos

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A lesson in how to put on a nagoya obi, with a taiko ‘knot’ at the rear. Nagoya obi have the sash section already folded in half and the rear knot section at full width. The video is in two parts.

The woman in the video is wearing her kimono with the fold-over tied at the waist, to adjust length, and has, round her waist, a koshi himo (soft tie) under a (pink) date-jime obi around her waist. She also wears an obi ita (stiffening board) under her obi. Her (white) obi ita has an elastic strap round the back, most obi ita have no strap and are just held in place by the obi. She puts the nagoya obi on top of all those.

You can also get pre-shaped, two part nagoya obi, which do away with all the time consuming, complicated tying, but look the same once on.

The makura (pillow) she mentions is an obi bustle pad, which pads out the top of the rear knot and is hidden inside the knot, covered by an obiage. The obiage is a scarf-like tie that goes around the top of the obi sash and is tied at the front, then partially tucked under the sash. Around the middle of the sash, to help hold the obi in place, is a cord called an obijime, also tied at the front.

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Video part 2 – How To Put On A Nagoya Obi – wafuku.co.uk Vintage Japanese Kimonos

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Part two of lesson in how to put on a nagoya obi, with a taiko ‘knot’ at the rear, an obiage, makura and obijime.

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The Kimono That Started My Passion

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The ‘geisha’ in the garden, shown below, is my long suffering daughter, who patiently allows me to photograph her in an endless array of kimonos to display on my site, allowing people to see what many of them look like when on. In the photos below, she is wearing one of her own kimonos; that’s the kimono that made me feel I had to own one of my own and got my passion for kimonos started.
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