Naoko (Tokyo)

Naoko belongs to the 55-64 year old age group. She is working as an English teacher in junior high school. She was born and grew up in Fukuoka prefecture and now lives in Tokyo. Her first kimono memory was wearing a yukata in a summer festival in her childhood. Her parents made a furisode for her coming-of-age ceremony. After Naoko wore the furisode twice after coming-of-age ceremony, it went to five of her relatives like her sister, cousins and nieces. They made good memories by wearing the same furisode, but each one with a different hair style and character.

Since she belonged a tea ceremony club in university days, her parents made a kimono for her for a tea ceremony party. Then they made another kimono for her when she attended high school graduation ceremony as an English teacher in Fukuoka. Naoko could not wear kimono by herself, she was dressed by a hair dresser in her neighborhood. In Japan, many hair dressers are licensed as kimono dressers. She moved to Tokyo when she married. She was so busy looking after her two boys that she was far away from kimono for long time. She started to learn kimono in 2010 with her friend and she started to buy kimono herself at the same time. She tended to pick darker colored kimono because she does not like to worry about getting stains on kimono and making expensive cleaning bills. This is a big change from her favorite kimono colors which were pink or pale orange when she was single. The kimono school she went to sold kimono to the students. Naoko’s class mates bought a lot of kimono there but she tried to not be involved with this. She realized that only a limited few rich people with money, and the space to store kimono, have the time to wear and have places to go in kimono. Only those people could buy the kimono. She learnt to dress people in kimono recently. She made people happy by using her skill, for example by dressing non-Japanese in a kimono wearing experience or on her mother’s 80 years old birthday party. That was the first time for Naoko’s mother to wear a furisode. It became a good memory for her mother and relatives.

Naoko has 14 kimono at her place. Half of them are formal kimono including two black mourning kimono and the other half are casual kimono she bought for herself. For now, going to tea ceremony lessons is only chance she has to wear kimono. She thinks kimono makes her back straight and beautiful and it fits Japanese women’s body shape. Also kimono help us to notice the change of the four seasons and understand Japanese culture through the color combinations and traditional patterns.




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