Comfortable Kimono
Trying out Kimono ②
by MISAGO Chidzuru, Professor at Tsuda College

Currently, the NHK serialized morning TV drama is about the designer Koshin Junko’s mother who is a model. The main character, as a daughter born into the dry goods business, has become enchanted with western clothing. When this Japanese girl who had always worn kimono first put on Western clothing, while her heart very much felt light momentarily, she also depicts an attachment to kimono. Western clothing was wonderful, but nevertheless when she takes off Western clothing and puts on kimono, the main character says, “Ah, kimono really is so much more comfortable.” On the whole, probably all Japanese before World War II had this feeling. Western clothing is wonderful, but kimono is more comfortable. When a father got home from work, he would take off his Western clothing and relax at home wearing kimono. Grandmothers always say, kimono really is the best.
We have long lost this feeling. When did kimono become a garment which is restrictive, painful, and hard to move in? Western clothing is quicker and easier to wear, freer to move in, simpler to wash, and wearing kimono makes one stand out too much. There are so many reasons not to wear kimono these days. How did we lose the pleasentness of the pre World War II “Kimono is comfortable” generation?。
Now, we wear Western underclothes everyday, but isn’t that the main reason why Japanese women have thrown away kimono, I have secretly thought. The places the body sweats the most–under the arms, the front of the neck, and the pelvic area–are open air ciculation with kimono. Because the abdomen is wrapped with the obi many times, even though below the arms, the neck, and the pelvic area are opened, the body does not grow cold. Areas that should be warm are warm, and areas that should be open to circulation are open to it. A very refined outfit. The underclothes used with kimono–the koshimaki, hadajuban, and nagajuban–do not hinder that feature. However, so called panties, shirts, and bras of Western underclothing completely ruins this exquisite feature. When areas the kimono was not originally tight against like the arms, shoulders, chest, and thighs are encased, some reason the obi begins to feel too tight. When wearing kimono straight over Western underclothing, it feel painful.
For the sake of taking back the comfort of kimono as everyday wear, it seems that underclothing is a significant point. This time, can we throw away Western underclothes? This might be a large hurdle, but please.