Obi is a sash for traditional Japanese dress and part of kimono outfits. The obi for men's kimono is rather narrow, 10 centimetres wide at most, but a woman's formal obi can be 30 centimetres wide and more than 4 metres long. Nowadays, a woman's wide and decorative obi does not keep the kimono closed; the obi itself requires the use of stiffeners and ribbons for definition of shape and decoration. There are many types of obi, most for women: wide obi made of brocade and narrower, simpler obi for everyday wear; the fanciest and most colourful obi are for young unmarried women. The contemporary women's obi is a conspicuous accessory, sometimes more so than the kimono robe itself. A fine formal obi might cost more than the rest of the entire outfit. Obi are categorised by their design, formality and use. Informal obi are shorter. In its early days, an obi was a cord or a ribbon-like sash 8 centimetres in width. Men's and women's obi were similar. At the beginning of the 17th century, both women and men wore a ribbon obi.
By the 1680s, the width of women's obi had doubled from its original size. In the 1730s women's obi were about 25 centimetres wide, at the turn of the 19th century were as wide as 30 centimetres. At that time, separate ribbons and cords were necessary to hold the obi in place; the men's obi was at its widest in the 1730s, at about 16 centimetres. Before the Edo period, which began in 1600, women's kosode robes were fastened with a narrow sash at the hips; the mode of attaching the sleeve to the torso part of the garment would have prevented the use of wider obi. When the sleeves of kosode began to grow in width at the beginning of the Edo period, the obi widened as well. There were two reasons for this: firstly, to maintain the aesthetic balance of the outfit, the longer sleeves needed a wider sash to accompany them; the use of long sleeves without leaving the underarm open would have hindered movements greatly. These underarm openings in turn made room for wider obi. All obi were tied in the front.
Fashion began to affect the position of the knot, obi could be tied to the side or to the back. As obi grew wider the knots grew bigger, it became cumbersome to tie the obi in the front. In the end of the 17th century obi were tied in the back. However, the custom did not become established before the beginning of the 20th century. At the end of the 18th century it was fashionable for a woman's kosode to have overly long hems that were allowed to trail behind when in house. For moving outside, the excess cloth was tied up beneath the obi with a wide cloth ribbon called shigoki obi. Contemporary kimono are made over-long, but the hems are not allowed to trail. Shigoki obi are still only in decorative purposes; the most formal of obi are about to become obsolete. The heavy and long maru obi is nowadays used only by maiko and brides as a part of their wedding outfit; the lighter fukuro obi has taken the place of maru obi. The everyday Nagoya obi is the most common obi used today, the fancier ones may be accepted as a part of a semi-ceremonial outfit.
The use of musubi, or decorative knots, has narrowed so that women tie their obi solely in the simple taiko musubi, "drum knot". Tsuke obi with ready-made knots are gaining in popularity. Tatsumura Textile located in Nishijin in Kyoto is a centre of manufacturing today. Founded by Heizo Tatsumura I in the 19th century, it is renowned for making some of the most luxurious obi. Amongst his students studying design was the painter Inshō Dōmoto; the technique Nishijin-ori is intricately woven and can have a three dimensional effect and can cost up to 1 Million Yen. The "Kimono Institute" was founded by Kazuko Hattori in the 20th century and teaches how to tie an obi and wear it properly; the wide women's obi is folded in two when worn, to a width of about 15 centimetres to 20 centimetres. It is considered elegant to tie the obi so that the folded width is in harmony with the wearer's body dimensions; this means about a tenth of her height. The full width of the obi is present only in musubi. A woman's obi is worn in a fancy musubi knot.
There are ten ways to tie an obi, different knots are suited to different occasions and different kimono. There are many different types of women's obi, the usage of them is regulated by many unwritten rules not unlike those that concern the kimono itself. Certain types of obi are used with certain types of kimono; the obi adjusts the formality and fanciness of the whole kimono outfit: the same kimono can be worn in different situations depending on what kind of obi is worn with it. Darari obi is a long maru obi worn by maiko. A maiko's darari obi has the kamon insignia of its owner's okiya on the other end. A darari obi can be 600 centimetres long. Fukuro obi is a grade less formal than a maru obi and the most formal obi used today, it has been sewing two pieces of cloth together. If two cloths are used, the cloth used for the backside of the obi may be cheaper and the front cloth may be, for example, brocade. Not counting marriage outfits, the fukuro obi has replaced the heavy maru obi as the obi used for
Emperor of Japan
The Emperor of Japan is the head of the Imperial Family and the head of state of Japan. Under the 1947 constitution, he is defined as "the symbol of the State and of the unity of the people." He was the highest authority of the Shinto religion. In Japanese, the Emperor is called Tennō "heavenly sovereign". In English, the use of the term Mikado for the Emperor was once common, but is now considered obsolete; the Emperor of Japan is the only head of state in the world with the English title of "Emperor". The Imperial House of Japan is the oldest continuing monarchical house in the world; the historical origins of the Emperors lie in the late Kofun period of the 3rd–7th centuries AD, but according to the traditional account of the Kojiki and Nihon Shoki, Japan was founded in 660 BC by Emperor Jimmu, said to be a direct descendant of the sun-goddess Amaterasu. The current Emperor is Akihito, he acceded to the Chrysanthemum Throne upon the death of his father, Emperor Shōwa, in 1989. The Japanese government announced in December 2017 that Akihito will abdicate on 30 April 2019.
The role of the Emperor of Japan has alternated between a ceremonial symbolic role and that of an actual imperial ruler. Since the establishment of the first shogunate in 1199, the Emperors of Japan have taken on a role as supreme battlefield commander, unlike many Western monarchs. Japanese Emperors have nearly always been controlled by external political forces, to varying degrees. In fact, between 1192 and 1867, the shōguns, or their shikken regents in Kamakura, were the de facto rulers of Japan, although they were nominally appointed by the Emperor. After the Meiji Restoration in 1867, the Emperor was the embodiment of all sovereign power in the realm, as enshrined in the Meiji Constitution of 1889. Since the enactment of the 1947 Constitution, he has been a ceremonial head of state without nominal political powers. Since the mid-nineteenth century, the Imperial Palace has been called Kyūjō Kōkyo, is on the former site of Edo Castle in the heart of Tokyo. Earlier, Emperors resided in Kyoto for nearly eleven centuries.
The Emperor's Birthday is a national holiday. Unlike most constitutional monarchs, the Emperor is not the nominal chief executive. Article 65 explicitly vests executive power in the Cabinet, of which the Prime Minister is the leader; the Emperor is not the commander-in-chief of the Japan Self-Defense Forces. The Japan Self-Defense Forces Act of 1954 explicitly vests this role with the Prime Minister; the Emperor's powers are limited only to important ceremonial functions. Article 4 of the Constitution stipulates that the Emperor "shall perform only such acts in matters of state as are provided for in the Constitution and he shall not have powers related to government." It stipulates that "the advice and approval of the Cabinet shall be required for all acts of the Emperor in matters of state". Article 4 states that these duties can be delegated by the Emperor as provided for by law. While the Emperor formally appoints the Prime Minister to office, Article 6 of the Constitution requires him to appoint the candidate "as designated by the Diet", without giving the Emperor the right to decline appointment.
Article 6 of the Constitution delegates the Emperor the following ceremonial roles: Appointment of the Prime Minister as designated by the Diet. Appointment of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court as designated by the Cabinet; the Emperor's other duties are laid down in article 7 of the Constitution, where it is stated that "the Emperor, with the advice and approval of the Cabinet, shall perform the following acts in matters of state on behalf of the people." In practice, all of these duties are exercised only in accordance with the binding instructions of the Cabinet: Promulgation of amendments of the constitution, cabinet orders, treaties. Convocation of the Diet. Dissolution of the House of Representatives. Proclamation of general election of members of the Diet. Attestation of the appointment and dismissal of Ministers of State and other officials as provided for by law, of full powers and credentials of Ambassadors and Ministers. Attestation of general and special amnesty, commutation of punishment and restoration of rights.
Awarding of honors. Attestation of instruments of ratification and other diplomatic documents as provided for by law. Receiving foreign ambassadors and ministers. Performance of ceremonial functions. Regular ceremonies of the Emperor with a constitutional basis are the Imperial Investitures in the Tokyo Imperial Palace and the Speech from the Throne ceremony in the House of Councillors in the National Diet Building; the latter ceremony opens extra sessions of the Diet. Ordinary sessions are opened each January and after new elections to the House of Representatives. Extra sessions convene in the autumn and are opened then. Although the Emperor has been a symbol of continuity with the past, the degree of power exercised by the Emperor has varied throughout Japanese history. In the early 7th century, the Emperor had begun to be called the "Son of Heaven"; the title of Emperor was borrowed from China, being derived from Chinese characters and was retroactively applied to the legendary Japanese rulers who reigned before the 7th–8th centuries AD.
According to the traditional account of the Nihon Shoki, Japan was founded by Emperor Jimmu in 660 BC. Modern historians agree that the Emperors before the possible late 3rd century AD ruler known traditionally as Emperor Ōjin are legendary. Emperor Ank
There are two types of clothing that the Japanese wear: the Japanese clothing, such as kimonos, Western clothing. Japanese traditional fashion combines multiple styles, it represents the culture's visible artistic and traditional values and joins them together to create a form of fashion recognizable to foreign cultures. The most well known form of Japanese traditional fashion is the kimono, but other types include the yukata and the hakama; the different styles have been produced and transformed by artists well known in Japan, including fashion designers Issey Miyake, Yohji Yamamoto, Rei Kawakubo. Their works have influenced numerous designers outside of the country that showcase their designs in fashion shows exposed internationally. From the intricate patterns to the layers of fabric, the essence of beauty, found in traditional wear has influenced the modern fashion, immersed in Japan's community on a daily basis, specially found in Tokyo, the capital of Japan. Although the traditional wear for Japan became popularized during the Heian period and was worn casually at the time, it is now rare to find people doing so due to the difficult process associated with the wardrobe.
Each type of garment corresponds to a special occasion, such as ceremonies, or weddings. The materials and layers used for the clothing differentiate them and their significance, as the looks are often worn seasonally; the clothing that embodies the culture represents Japan's traditional values that remain in their community to this day. As it became popular in the Western world, there has been controversy regarding cultural appropriation with the costumes of the culture the "Kimono Wednesday" event held at the Boston Museum of Arts. Traditional garments are now worn for ceremonies and special events. In more recent years, western clothing is worn in day-to-day life. Social segregation of clothing was noticeable in the Nara period, through the division of upper and lower class. Women of higher social status wore clothing that covered the majority of their body, or as Svitlana Rybalko states, "the higher the status, the less was open to other people's eyes". For example, the full-length robes would cover most from the collarbone to the feet, the sleeves were to be long enough to hide their fingertips, fans were carried to protect them from speculative looks.
When the Heian period began, the concept of the hidden body remained, with ideologies suggesting that the clothes served as "protection from the evil spirits and outward manifestation of a social rank". This proposed the held belief that those of lower ranking, who were perceived to be of less clothing due to their casual performance of manual labor, were not protected in the way that the upper class were in that time period; this was the period in which Japanese traditional clothing became introduced to the Western world. As time passed, new approaches to the costume were brought up, but the original mindset of a covered body lingered; the new trend of tattoos competed with the social concept of hidden skin and led to differences in opinion among the Japanese community and their social values. The dress code, once followed on a daily basis reconstructed into a festive and occasional trend. In Japan, modern fashion history might be conceived as the gradual westernization of Japanese clothes.
The woolen and worsted industries were a product of Japan's re-established contact with the West in the 1850s and 1860s. Before the 1860s, Japanese clothing consisted of a great variety of kimono; these first appeared with no distinction between male and female. After Japan opened up for trading with the outside world, other clothing options started to come in; the first Japanese to adopt western clothing were officers and men of some units of the shōgun's army and navy. Sometime in the 1850s these men adopted woolen uniforms worn by English marines stationed at Yokohama. To produce them domestically was not easy, cloth had to be imported; the most significant of this early adoption of Western styles was its public origin. For quite a while, the public sector remained as major champion of the new garb; the style only grew from there. Soon and bureaucrats were urged to adopt Western clothing, thought to be more practical; the Ministry of Education ordered that Western-style student uniforms be worn in public colleges and universities.
Businessmen, doctors and other leaders of the new society wore suits to work and at large social functions. Although western-style dress was becoming more popular for workplaces and streets, it was not worn by everybody. Since World War II most areas have been taken over by western clothing. Thus, by the opening of the twentieth century, western dress was a symbol of social dignity and progressiveness. However, the vast majority of Japanese stuck to their fashions, in favor of the more comfortable kimono. Western dress for street wear and Japanese dress at home remained the general rule for a long time. An example of Eastern influence from Japan that spread to the rest of the world is evident in the late 1880s. An ordinary wool blanket was used as a shawl for women, a red blanket was featured in Vogue for winter wear; until the 1930s, the majority of Japanese wore the kimono, Western clothes were still restricted to out-of-home use by certain classes. The Japanese have interpreted western clothing styles from the United States and Europe and made it their own.
Overall, it is evident throughout
The Haori is a traditional Japanese hip- or thigh-length kimono-style jacket, worn over a kosode. The haori does not close like the yukata, but is worn open or kept closed by a string that connects the lapels. During the Sengoku period, sleeveless haori were worn over the armour, like the tabard was in Europe. During the Edo period, economic growth allowed the middle class to afford the haori, yielding laws against ostentatious display of wealth by all but the warrior caste. Hanten, a less formal jacket
The Meiji period, or Meiji era, is an era of Japanese history which extended from October 23, 1868 to July 30, 1912. This era represents the first half of the Empire of Japan, during which period the Japanese people moved from being an isolated feudal society at risk of colonisation by European powers to the new paradigm of a modern, industrialised nationstate and emergent great power, influenced by Western scientific, philosophical, political and aesthetic ideas; as a result of such wholesale adoption of radically-different ideas, the changes to Japan were profound, affected its social structure, internal politics, economy and foreign relations. The period corresponded to the reign of Emperor Meiji and was succeeded upon the accession of Emperor Taishō by the Taishō period. On February 3, 1867, the 14-year-old Prince Mutsuhito succeeded his father, Emperor Kōmei, to the Chrysanthemum Throne as the 122nd emperor. On November 9, 1867, then-shōgun Tokugawa Yoshinobu tendered his resignation to the Emperor, formally stepped down ten days later.
Imperial restoration occurred the next year on January 3, 1868, with the formation of the new government. The fall of Edo in the summer of 1868 marked the end of the Tokugawa shogunate, a new era, was proclaimed; the first reform was the promulgation of the Five Charter Oath in 1868, a general statement of the aims of the Meiji leaders to boost morale and win financial support for the new government. Its five provisions consisted of: Establishment of deliberative assemblies. Implicit in the Charter Oath was an end to exclusive political rule by the bakufu, a move toward more democratic participation in government. To implement the Charter Oath, a rather short-lived constitution with eleven articles was drawn up in June 1868. Besides providing for a new Council of State, legislative bodies, systems of ranks for nobles and officials, it limited office tenure to four years, allowed public balloting, provided for a new taxation system, ordered new local administrative rules; the Meiji government assured the foreign powers that it would follow the old treaties negotiated by the bakufu and announced that it would act in accordance with international law.
Mutsuhito, to reign until 1912, selected a new reign title—Meiji, or Enlightened Rule—to mark the beginning of a new era in Japanese history. To further dramatize the new order, the capital was relocated from Kyoto, where it had been situated since 794, to Tokyo, the new name for Edo. In a move critical for the consolidation of the new regime, most daimyōs voluntarily surrendered their land and census records to the Emperor in the abolition of the Han system, symbolizing that the land and people were under the Emperor's jurisdiction. Confirmed in their hereditary positions, the daimyo became governors, the central government assumed their administrative expenses and paid samurai stipends; the han were replaced with prefectures in 1871, authority continued to flow to the national government. Officials from the favored former han, such as Satsuma, Chōshū, Hizen staffed the new ministries. Old court nobles, lower-ranking but more radical samurai, replaced bakufu appointees and daimyo as a new ruling class appeared.
In as much as the Meiji Restoration had sought to return the Emperor to a preeminent position, efforts were made to establish a Shinto-oriented state much like it was 1,000 years earlier. Since Shinto and Buddhism had molded into a syncretic belief in the prior one-thousand years and Buddhism had been connected with the shogunate, this involved the separation of Shinto and Buddhism and the associated destruction of various Buddhist temples and related violence. Furthermore, a new State Shinto had to be constructed for the purpose. In 1871, the Office of Shinto Worship was established, ranking above the Council of State in importance; the kokutai ideas of the Mito school were embraced, the divine ancestry of the Imperial House was emphasized. The government supported a small but important move. Although the Office of Shinto Worship was demoted in 1872, by 1877 the Home Ministry controlled all Shinto shrines and certain Shinto sects were given state recognition. Shinto was released from Buddhist administration and its properties restored.
Although Buddhism suffered from state sponsorship of Shinto, it had its own resurgence. Christianity was legalized, Confucianism remained an important ethical doctrine. However, Japanese thinkers identified with Western ideology and methods. A major proponent of representative government was Itagaki Taisuke, a powerful Tosa leader who had resigned from the Council of State over the Korean affair in 1873. Itagaki sought peaceful, rather than rebellious, he started a school and a movement aimed at establishing a constitutional monarchy and a legislative assembly. Such movements were called People's Rights Movement. Itagaki and others wrote the Tosa Memorial in 1874, criticizing the unbridled power of the oligarchy and calling for the immediate establishment of representative government. Between 1871 and 1873, a series of land and tax laws were enacted as the basis for modern fiscal policy. Private ownership was legalized, deeds were issued, lands were assessed at fair market value with taxes paid in cash rather than in k
A furisode is a style of kimono distinguishable by its long sleeves, which range in length from 85 centimeters for a kofurisode to 114 centimeters for an ōfurisode. The sleeves are attached to the body of the kimono only for a short distance. Furisode are the most formal style of kimono worn by young unmarried women in Japan; the furisode is made of fine, brightly colored silk, is rented or bought by parents for their daughters to wear when celebrating Coming of Age Day the year they turn 20. By wearing a furisode, a young woman signifies that she is both single and a legal adult, thus available for marriage. In this sense, a furisode might be likened to the formal gowns worn by debutantes in the West; the furisode is worn for formal social functions such as the tea ceremony or wedding ceremonies of relatives. Since furisodes can be quite expensive, many women rent them as needed rather than purchasing them; the furisode originated in the mid-1500s as middle- and upper-class children's clothing for both sexes.
Furisode had short sleeves and was used as everyday wear by those who could afford to do so. According to a 17th-century text, boys could wear furisode until their 18th year or until they went through their coming-of-age ceremony, while girls were supposed to cease wearing it upon marriage or reaching their 20th year. Furisode did not differ noticeably between the sexes, but fabric designs started to become more gendered in the 19th century. In the 20th century furisode became restricted to women and girls only, as part of the increasing gender-specificity of children's clothing that developed in the wake of Western influence; as the furisode became associated with young adult women, the term was removed from the shorter-sleeved children's garment, which acquired the more generic term wakiake. Media related to Furisode at Wikimedia Commons
Kanzashi are hair ornaments used in traditional Japanese hairstyles. Some models may have been modified for self-defense. In the English-speaking world, the term "kanzashi" is sometimes applied to the folded cloth flowers that traditionally adorned tsumami kanzashi or to the technique used to make those flowers. Kanzashi were first used in Japan during the Jōmon period. During that time, a single thin rod or stick was considered to have mystical powers which could ward off evil spirits, so people would wear them in their hair; this is when some of the first predecessors of the modern Japanese hair comb began to appear. During the Nara period, a variety of Chinese cultural aspects and items were brought to Japan, including zan and other hair ornaments. During the Heian period, the traditional style of putting hair up was changed to wearing it long, tied back low, it was at this time that kanzashi began to be used as a general term for any hair ornament, including combs and hairpins. During the Azuchi-Momoyama period, the hairstyles changed from the taregami, or long straight hair, to the wider variety of "Japanese hair" which made more use of hair ornaments.
Kanzashi came into wide use during the Edo period, when hairstyles became larger and more complicated, using a larger number of ornaments. Artisans began to produce more finely crafted products, including some hair ornaments that could be used as defensive weapons. During the latter part of the Edo period, the craftsmanship of kanzashi reached a high point, with many styles and designs being created. Nowadays, kanzashi are most worn by brides. However, there is a revival among young Japanese women who wish to add an elegant touch to their business suit. There are many styles of wearing kanzashi; the way a geisha wears her kanzashi indicates her status to an informed audience according to the type and location of the kanzashi. Maiko wear more numerous and elaborate kanzashi than more senior geisha and progress through several hairstyles where the kanzashi must be worn in a fixed pattern. Tsumami kanzashi has been designated as a traditional Japanese handcraft in the Tokyo region since 1982. Traditionally trained professional artisans undergo five to ten years of apprenticeship.
However, the petal-folding technique has become a popular hobby, due to instructional books and lessons from sources such as the Tsumami Kanzashi Museum in Shinjuku. Some students have bypassed the traditional apprenticeship system to establish themselves as independent professional artisans of tsumami kanzashi in Japan. Kanzashi are fabricated from a wide range of materials such as lacquered wood and silver plated metal and silk, plastic. In fact, early bakelite kanzashi are valued as collectibles. There are several basic kanzashi styles that traditionally followed more complex hana and seasonal arrangements. Today these arrangements are only followed by maiko. Bira-bira – called Fluttering or Dangling style, these are composed of metal strips attached by rings to the body of the ornament so that they move independently, pleasantly tinkling. Kogai – A two piece kanzashi made of Bekko or other materials such as ceramics or metals that feature a design on each end. Kogai refers to the shape of two pieces make up this kanzashi.
They are sold as a set with an accompanying kushi comb. Tama – Ball style kanzashi; these prong style kanzashi are decorated with only a simple colored bead on the end. Traditionally a red tama is worn October–May and a green tama is worn June–September. Kushi are comb kanzashi; these are rounded or rectangular combs made of tortoiseshell or lacquered wood that are inlaid with mother of pearl or gilding and placed into a mage. The spine of the comb is wide in order to allow maximum space for a design, in many cases, the design will extend into the teeth. "Flower-combs" called hanagushi, are made by gluing folded pieces of silk to a wooden base comb and are a popular, non-formal alternative. Kanoko Dome – are jeweled accessories crafted with some or all of the following: gold, tortoiseshell, coral and other semi-precious stones. While the general shape is rounded, they are found in other shapes, with flowers and butterflies being the most popular; the kanoko dome is worn at the back of the wareshinobu hairstyle of the junior maiko and has two prongs that hold it securely in the mage.
Ōgi – Also called Princess style, are metal, fan-shaped and kamon-imprinted kanzashi with aluminum streamers held in place by a long pin. These are worn by maiko in the hair just above the temple. New maiko wear two on the day of their debut. Tachibana – Is a kanzashi made with two silver pins, it is worn by maiko with the wareshinobu hairdo. Hirauchi – Ornament with a flat rounded decoration. Maezashi – Also called Bira dome, is an ornament worn over the Bira-bira. Miokuri – Is a Metal strips shaped ornament. Bonten – Round silver ornament with a pink touch. Kanoko – Bright colored fabric tube. Chirimen tegarami – Is a triangular fabric node. With hana kanzashi, the long fluttering flower is characteristic of maiko; these are created from squares of silk by a technique known as tsumami. Each square is folde