MUTUAL UNDERSTANDING
Japanese Kimono: Wedding Wear
2012-01-15 12:14
An event, “Japanese Kimono: Wedding Dress” was organized on September 12, celebrating one million participants at the Mongolia-Japan Center. In this event, Ms. Fujishima Keiko, Ms. Takehara Naoko, Ms. Ishii Yumie, Yamano-style kimono specialists, put on a kimono show with for more than 150 people, including Ambassador Kidakoro Takuo and Mr. Ishida Yukio, Head of the JICA Mongolia Office.
The event consisted of the following four parts.
Introduction to traditional Japanese kimono
Introduction to wedding ceremonies
How to put on your own kimono
Different ways to tie a kimono obi (belt/sash)
At the end of the event, specialists answered questions from participants and the kimono models were asked about their experience.

Introduction to traditional Japanese kimono:
In general, kimono look similar to deel (Mongolian traditional dress), but with different sleeves and a more distinctive belt (obi). Today in Japan, people only wear kimono during traditional ceremonies and festival. The first time a Japanese person wears a kimono is when they go to a temple, at one month of age, for the “Omiyamairi” ceremony. The parents pray for the health of their baby, and they take a picture to commemorate the occasion. The next ceremony is the “Shigosan,” for five-year-old boys, and three- and seven-year-old girls. Again, the parents show thanks for the health of their children and pray for their future happiness. In the Shigosan ceremony, boys first wear the male adult kimono, called a “hakama,” whereas girls traditionally don’t wear adult kimono until they turn 13. However, in recent years this “13th year prayer” ceremony is rarely celebrated. In the year when a Japanese person turns 20, they are considered adults and the coming-of-age is celebrated across all of Japan (on the second Monday in January) by wearing kimono and hakama. On this Coming of Age Day, all the girls wear colorful kimono, called “furisode,” with long sleeves to illustrate their youth and beauty. For much of recent history, the men participating in the Coming of Age Day would wear western-style suits, but increasingly men are wearing the traditional hakama. At university and college graduation ceremonies, women wear either kimono or hakama. This is because hakama are a part of the academic culture for both women and men.

Introduction to wedding ceremonies:
Brides and grooms wear the most extravagant kimonos in their wedding ceremony; grooms in “kuromonpuku,” which is black and in the same style as the yokozuna’s (sumo champions), and brides in white “shiromuku,” which were originally worn by samurai’s brides. White has been honored as the wedding color for brides going back about 1200 years, symbolizing the holiness of sunlight in Japanese mythology. The “watabōshi” is the bride’s headpiece and it completely conceals the head and face. It originated from the “kazuki,” a bonnet in the shape of a small, short-sleeved kimono, which was used by samurai’s wives as protection from the sun and wind, since the year 1500. In latter years, starting in the 1600s, kazuki were replaced by watabōshi made of cotton. By wearing watabōshi, the bride’s face is hidden from the guests but not from the groom. However, brides change into colorful uchikake kimono for the wedding feast after the ceremony. Brides decorate their own hair with a six-piece headpiece, traditionally including an expensive pearl hairgrip and hair comb. The bride’s hairstyle is called “bunkintakashimada.” Guests, especially women, also wear kimono in wedding ceremonies; young single women wear long-sleeved kimono (furisada), and married women short-sleeved kimono. It is common for men to wear western-style suits.

How to put on your own kimono:
Japanese kimono can be worn without any help. Kimono consist of many parts, including “zoori” slippers and “tabi” socks separating the toes into two parts.

Different ways to tie a kimono obi (belt/sash):
The kimono belt, an obi, is quite long and can be tied in various ways. Men’s obi are thinner than women’s. There are many types of obi: “Maru obi,” “Fukuro obi,” “Nagoya obi,” etc. In conclusion, this event has been successfully organized with active participation, kimono specialists, and full- and part-time staff members. At the end of the show, people asked interesting questions and had a chance to take pictures with kimono models. This event was the great opportunity to raise the awareness of Japanese culture through kimono, and even Japanese natives rarely get to see events like this. We hope to deepen mutual understanding and relationships between the two countries through further activities and events
Event organizers: teachers Tsukugiwa and Yoshiike
Models: Gan-Erdene in groom kimono, Saranzaya in bride’s kimono, Mungunsolongo in “furisode” short-sleeve kimono, Sainkhuu in day-to-day kimono.
Announcer: Tsukikawa Yoshike
Translator: Munkhbayasgalan(Part-time staff: Ts. Munkhbayasgalan)