Kimono Vocabulary

FURISODE (foo-rhee-so-day) Long-sleeved kimono worn by young unmarried women for formal occasions. Brightly colored with bold-scalepatterns, some have embroidered embellishment.

HAKAMA (hah-kah-mah) Long pleated split skirt worn by men over a formal five-crested kimono and by young women over certain types of kimono.

HAORI (hah-oh-rhee) Jacket worn over the kimono. Men’s haori, made from black habutae silk with five crests and prized for their beautiful linings, are worn for formal occasions. Women’s haori come in all colors and are only worn outdoors.

HIMO (he-moe) A pair of hand-braided silk ties used to hold the front of the haori

together when worn. The braiding technique is called Kumihimo (koo-me-he-moe).

KASURI (kah-soo-rhee) Weaving technique in which the warp and sometimes the weft are pre-dyed or screen printed before the fabric is woven. The motif appears with a characteristic “bleed” of one color into the next, softening the images.

KIMONO (key-moe-no) Traditional Japanese garment worn by men and women.

Its earliest form was imported from China during the T’ang Dynasty (618-907 c.e.) and

refined to become the classic Japanese garment in the Heian period (794-1185 c.e.).

The current shape of the kimono dates from the early Edo period (1600-1847).

MEISEN (may-sen) Kimono fabric made from the outer, less regular silk filaments; popular in the 1920’s-30’s as a less expensive alternative to finer quality silk kimono. These often feature bold kasuri designs.

NAGAJUBAN (nah-gah-joo-bahn) Ankle-length kimono-shaped undergarment.

NISHIJIN (nee-she-jean) Tapestry technique for hand weaving silk obi. The weaver

beats the weft by using a serrated fingernail! Also the name of a weaving district in Kyoto.

OBI (oh-bee) Sash which ties the kimono closed.

OBIAGE (oh-bee-ah-gay) Silk scarf-like panel tied above the obi and tucked into it, with only a bit showing (depending on the age of the wearer).

OBIJIME (oh-bee-gee-may) Braided cord tied around the obi.

SHIBORI (she-boe-rhee) Dyeing technique using various folding, pleating, twisting, and tying methods.

SHISHU (she-shoe) Fine hand embroidery using untwisted and twisted silk threads,

used on kimono, obi, kimono accessories, fukusa (gift wrapping cloth for weddings), and altar cloths for Buddhist temples.

TOMESODE (toe-may-so-day) The most formal kimono worn by married women;

black with five white family crests (on bodice and sleeves) and a dyed pattern running

from thigh to hem.

UCHIKAKE (oo-chee-kah-kay) Elaborate kimono-shaped coat, often richly dyed,

brocaded and/or embroidered, worn by brides over a white silk kimono.

YUKATA (you-kah-tah) Casual cotton summer kimono, also worn in the home year round.

YUZEN (you-zen) Technique for hand dye-painting patterns onto kimono silk, which originated in Kyoto during the early Edo period (1688-1704).