Mieko (Tokyo)

20171030-_DSC4067MIEKO’S PROFILE プロフィール

Photographer’s Note: Based on Mieko’s wishes, we did not photograph her face directly during this interview. She wishes for us to enjoy her kimono collection instead.

Mieko is in the over 65 age group. She is a widow and is living with one of her two sons in a small eighty-five-year-old Japanese styled house with a beautiful Japanese garden. She was born in Aichi prefecture and when she was twenty years old, she came to Tokyo on her marriage. Her husband was a business man, and she was a housewife, but when her two sons started to grow up she started to do the tea ceremony and became a tea ceremony teacher. From this time she came to wear kimono more and more. She admits that she spent a lot of her husband’s money on expensive kimono and tea vessels. She revealed, (laughing) that she always kept secrets from him about the price of kimono and never kept any of the receipts. She was a go-between for wedding ceremonies on several occasions, and so she had to have several tomesode for this purpose.
Mieko seems to like the colour purple and has a lot of purple in her collection. Recently she put a lot of kimono that she didn’t need anymore into a big box and sold them for 1,000 yen.
Interestingly, the kimono in Mieko’s collection are in different locations in the house, reflecting her ideas about the value of those kimono. The house has two tatami rooms and a hallway across the front, and then a western styled room. The larger tatami room is kept empty for the tea ceremony. One tansu with her formal kimono is in the smaller of the two tatami rooms, where the oshiire, cupboard also is. However, the tansu with her everyday wear is actually in the hallway. This tansu is in worse condition, with some insect damage, and also the bottom drawer has lost the handle, so cannot be opened. She doesn’t mind about this because she just considers these kimono as everyday wear, in her mind, not really kimono. She could not imagine why we would want to count these garments as well as the formal ones. They have no special significance for her. Her total collection is 64 kimono, over 30% are formal kimono which were all ordered from kimono stores, about 25% are summer kimono, also ordered from kimono stores, and the rest are casual kimono, mainly order-made but a small percentage are ones that her older sister did not want and passed on, that were inherited from their mother.

美恵子さんは65歳以上の年齢のグループです。ご主人を亡くされ、今は二人いる息子さんのうちの一人と美しい日本庭園のある築85年の家で暮らしています。愛知県で生まれましたが20歳のとき結婚を機に上京しました。
美恵子さんは主婦でしたが息子さん達が少し大きくなると、お茶を学び始めました。その後お茶の先生になりましたが、その頃からだんだんと着物を着ることが増えていきました。ご主人のお金でたくさんの高い着物とお茶碗を買いました。買ったものの価格はご主人には秘密で、領収証は捨ててしまった、と美恵子さんは笑います。仲人役を何回か頼まれたことがあり、留袖も何枚か必要に応じて作りました。
美恵子さんは紫色が好きで紫色の着物を多くお持ちです。最近になり、もう着ないであろう着物をまとめて箱に入れて、業者に売ったところ、1,000円の値段がつけられ、あまりにも安くてびっくりしました。
美恵子さんは着物を大切なものとそうでないものに分けて収納しています。廊下に面して和室が2つと洋室が一つあり、大きい方の和室はお茶室として使うため何も置いていません。小さい和室に桐箪笥があり、フォーマルの着物はそこに入っています。何枚かの普段着はこの部屋の押入に入っています。もう一つの桐箪笥は部屋の中ではなく、廊下にあります。これは少し古く、虫食いがあったり、一番下の引き出しは取手がないので開かなかったりします。この箪笥にはいつも着ている普段着を入れています。美恵子さんはここにある着物が本当に普段着であり、ただの服であり着物として考えていないので、他のフォーマルの着物と一緒に枚数を数えるのが意外な様子でした。この箪笥の着物はたとう紙がなく、出し入れやすい収納になっています。お手持ちの着物は全部で64枚。3分の一が礼装であとの4分の1は夏物、残りは普段着です。ほとんどは誂えたものですが普段着の中にはお姉さまから譲られたものもあります。

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