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History of Kimono - Edo period

Kimonos are the culmination of Japanese beauty and technique.
In this page, we will introduce the history of the kimono and how it has been passed down from generation to generation.

The prototype of the modern kimono is called "Kosode", which is worn underneath the karako costume.
Later, as time went by in the Kamakura and Muromachi periods, the hakama and costumes that were worn as outerwear in the Heian period were omitted.
Only the "Kosode" remained and became the modern kimono.

During the Edo period, kimono changed drastically from luxurious to simple, influenced by the isolationist policy, laws and fashions of the time.

In the early Edo period, the samurai families, with their power and economic strength, took the lead in fashion.
While the common people wore simple clothes made of linen and other simple materials, the women of the samurai families wore luxurious clothes embroidered with gold and silver paint.
The common people wore "Kosode," which was originally worn as underwear by the upper class aristocracy.
In the mid-Edo period, merchants and townspeople gained economic power, and "townsman culture" reached its peak.
The fashion trends of the time were Kabuki and Yoshiwara prostitutes. The common people were influenced by them to become more luxurious and gorgeous in what they wore.
In the latter half of the Edo period, elegant costumes that emphasized "appearance" became popular, and many items that are similar to today's kimono, such as haori and otaiko knots of Obi belt, appeared.
During this period, the Shogunate often issued a ban on extravagance, prohibiting flamboyant clothing and accessories.
However, the passion of the common people for fashion did not disappear.
The simple "striped pattern" and "Komon" became popular, and a new aesthetic sense was born in which people wore simple clothes but used bautiful fabric to back hems or lining to "enjoy fashion within the limits of regulations.
The number of people who wore "layered clothing" increased, and the use of color schemes and patterns for undergarments and inner garments became an important point of taste. At first glance, it may look plain, but upon closer inspection, it becomes fashionable! This was considered to be "Edo style".
By the way, cloth was very expensive for the common people in the Edo period, so they had very few kimonos.
There were different types of kimonos that were just right for the changing climate of each season, and at least three types of kimonos were needed: hitoe, kimono with lining, and cotton kimono.
When people bought kimonos, they exclusively went to secondhand stores.
Even if the kimono was a little damaged, they would re-tailor it themselves. So that the damaged part would be in an inconspicuous place, or adjust the seam allowance, and use it in various ways.
Once they buy second-hand clothes, they use them with care and respect. They wash them many times, and then re-tailor them. Then they remake them into other things such as children's kimonos, and when they are worn out, they use them as diapers for babies or others.
They continued to use it and make it. Finally, they are made into wash cloth or a thong for geta (Japanese geta sandals), and finally sold off as cutting fabric.

Go to "History of Kimono - Meiji and Taisho period"