The Evolution of the Design of the Japanese Kimono

Let’s step into the colorful world of the Japanese kimono robes with a brief history of the evolution of its design through the ages.

What started out as a Japanese kimono?

In the olden days, the Japanese term, kimono, literally translates to ‘something to wear’ and encompass the different types of clothing that were normally worn by the Japanese, but now,

The Jomon Period Kimono:

With the hunting and gathering lifestyle of the Japanese during the era, the traditional Japanese clothing was said to have been made of fur and was draped loosely around the body.

Yayoi Period Kimono:

With the introduction of rice agriculture, the Japanese kimono was said to be a loose garment with holes to put the arms through and which enabled their wearer to be comfortable while working on the rice fields. The geta, or wooden sandals, which are traditionally paired today with the casual Japanese Yukata, was said to be developed.

Kofun Period Kimono:

The first silk kimono was made during this time and the kimono style was inspired by the Chinese and Korean robes, which were closed to the front and tied at the waist without buttons and had skirts or trousers, which were often completed with a brightly-colored robe.

Asuka Period Kimono:

With the development of the sewing methods, the Kofun-period jacket or kimono robe was made longer and with wider sleeves. During this time, the courtiers’ clothes were also divided into three (3), i.e., formal clothes, court clothes which was copied from the Chinese court dress, and uniforms.

Nara Period Kimono:

The early Nara Period Yoro Code required that all kimono robes be crossed left over right, like the Chinese, which became the convention of how the Japanese kimono robe is wrapped until today. The process of dyeing the kimono was also developed during this period and the basic kimono was mostly made of one color.

The kimono also became a status symbol in that the noble men wore a loose upper garment with a slit on both sides, the women wore a short upper garment and a long, flowing skirt, with the court members wearing them in colors that signify their rank.

The common people, on the other hand, dressed much simpler, i.e., the men wore pants over kimono-like upper garments with tight sleeves and sash and women wore a kimono-like upper garment which overlapped right to left and that is worn over a short undergarment and a skirt.

Heian Period Kimono:

Straight-cut kimono-making technique was developed, which made it easier for the Japanese to make kimono out of many different types of fabric, wear them in layers during the winter, and using a light fabric during summer. Further development of kimono-dyeing procedures also paved the way for colorful, seemingly artistically-worked kimonos and wearing season-specific kimono colors was considered a norm.

Edo Period Kimono:

Resist-dyeing, or Yuzen dyeing, developed during this period, thus the kimono had more colorful and artistic textiles and became single-layered once more. The sleeves of the kimono were made longer, especially among unmarried women, the obi sash was made wider, and several techniques of tying the latter came into fashion. The kimono also became an indicator of social status and the use of subdued colored-kimonos also became common.

Meiji Period Kimono:

At this time, the kimono was coined as the T-shaped Japanese clothing. Some members of the elite, especially the men, started to wear Western-style clothing, like business suits for work, and wear the kimono only at home.

Today, the Japanese kimono can be considered as one of the world’s most treasure-worthy traditional clothing in the world, not only because of the normally expensive cost that is needed to make one, but because of the rich history and culture of Japan that is stitched within each of them. Be one of the proud owners of a Japanese kimono robe now and see for yourself how this precious Japanese clothing can easily bring out the grace and style of every woman.

Know more about the and the history of kimonos on,, Kids Web Japan, and

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Author: Uzumaki Naruto

Expert tips before traveling Japan, including reviews of Japanese food and restaurants to help you make your trip as enjoyable and rewarding as possible.

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