Celebrating the Kimono: Kimono No Hi
Kimono is the Japanese classical and traditional dress, as most of you maybe be knowing. The tradition of wearing a Kimono and its intricate hand-woven silk fabrics date back over a millennium and are a fundamental part of Japanese cultural heritage.
METI, that is the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry in Japan, is planning to set up “The Kimono Day”; a day during which ministry staff will be encouraged to wear the traditional garments. The Kimono Day will probably kick-start officially from the next year.
METI is aiming to revive Kimono industries that seem to be deflated in the current situation.
For example, one of METI’s plans regarding the Kimono Day, is to encourage Japanese business people to go to their offices wearing Kimono. Specifically, in summer, business people including both men and women will have to wear Yukata (which is a summer version of Kimono), to work at their office.
In addition to this, keeping in mind the unique Japanese culture of donning a Kimono to visit shrines during the New Year season; METI is trying to encourage Kimono dressing while at work during this season too.
The main purpose of initiating the Kimono Day is to revitalize the uniqueness and attractiveness of Kimono to the world. Portraying the traditional costumes and cultures in an attempt to reach out to the world, in preparation for the Tokyo Olympics, 2020.
In reality, Japanese people do not wear Kimono usually except on special occasions, although Kimono maybe one of the symbols of Japanese tradition such as Ninja and Samurai.
The other reason why METI is trying to initiate the Kimono Day is to support and encourage the Kimono Industries. Though Kimono is able to obtain appreciation from everyone including Japanese and foreigners, most of the Japanese youth are not interested in the Kimono and consider it as old-fashioned dressing style.
Kimono, I agree has some drawbacks, being luxurious and expensive. Besides, it is difficult and inconvenient to wear one on a daily basis. Wearing a Kimono perfectly is an art in itself and can only be achieved through persevering practice. The current Japanese youth is too carried away wearing brands such as H&M, ZARA and Uniqlo which are more affordable over the Kimono.
Therefore, Kimono Industries are fast diminishing from the Japanese fashion circuit.
However, this time, METI is trying to help revive the Kimono Industries to survive into the future, thereby protecting the Japanese historical culture by establishing either at the end of the year, or on the first business day of the new year as the Kimono Day.
Surprisingly, after news spread from METI regarding “The Kimono Day”, stock market values of Kimono Industries suddenly rose up to the highest revel on June 23rd, 2015.
For example, Nippon Waso Holding (2499), Kyoto Kimono Yuzen (7615), Sgami (8201) all experienced a boost up.
METI’s mission maybe to help sustain and support this tradition by encouraging Japanese to wear Kimono and by introducing foreigners to the timeless beauty of kimono fabrics.
I feel the Kimono Day will be much similar to St Patrick’s Day ( “wearing of the green” day), when it is customary to wear shamrocks and green clothing or accessories. In the near future, we might come across an interesting and exciting parade of business people wearing Kimono in Tokyo, thereby creating an atmosphere for wearing Kimonos.