The Role of Ohashori of Kimono

 

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For women’s kimono, kitake (dress length) is generally adjusted by folding the cloth at the waist, this is because mitake (length of clothing) is longer than kitake, unlike Western clothing. The folding part of the cloths is called “Ohashori”.
 

The history of Ohashori started around 150 years ago during the Meiji Era.
 

In the old days, cloths were quite valuable in Japan. Some upper classes wore a kimono with a long hem in order to show they were rich enough to afford a lot of valuable cloths. Then, they would walk trailing the hem whilst indoors and holding it up outdoors by tying an obi.
 

It is said that the folding of the obi has been simplified and has formed the current Ohashori.
 

Nowadays, we do not have to advertise our wealth by Ohashori. Still, there are two important roles of practicing it.
 

One role is the visual effect that the upper and the lower parts of the body balance each other well by the Ohashori line. The other is the flexibility to be able to wear a kimono beautifully and comfortably by adjusting Ohashori according to changes in body shape.
 

As a small child gets taller, for example, they can wear a kimono of appropriate length adjusted by the parent. Even an elderly person whom is bent at the waist and has a protruding abdomen can wear kimono by adjusting Ohashori in line with the body shape.
 

When a kimono is passed down from a mother to a daughter or from an elder to a younger sister, Ohashori can be adjusted according to the height of the person who wears it. Additionally, if one’s favorite kimono wears out, it has enough cloth to make adjustments.
 

Thus, Ohashori play a role in telling the importance of passing on kimono to be worn by future generations.
 
 
 
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