Mourning the loss of beaver top hats and Japanese kimono

Kimono: What could be more symbolic of Japan?
Kimono dying out: What could be more symbolic of Japan?
Too bad neither is true
kimono coming of age day petomi-chan

That's a wrap – kimono-making art may face end
The Progressive Realist | October 25, 2010
leading figures are warning that within a decade the art of traditional kimono making could die out…
…Once the garment of choice for samurai, aristocrats and workers, kimonos are rarely worn by young Japanese, who prefer Western clothes. Even if a formal occasion does demand a kimono, the young are likely to put on a machine-made version, much cheaper than a traditional handmade garment that costs between £1400 ($2242) and £7800. more...

Kimono disappearing is less likely than tuxedos totally disappearing. In Japan there are more occasions one would wear kimono than wearing a tuxedo in the West.

As far as kinono silk makers going out of business— it’s a business business, if people don’t buy a product, a business closes. Kimono silk and obi/slashes can be made with less labor intensive processes and they OUGHT TO BE because traditional methods involve enslavement of people at preindustrial wage levels. Materials and methods change, thank Buddha.

Most kimono in the “affordable” price range under 200,000 yen ($2,466 USD) are sewn in China using Chinese silk. It is the same for froufrou-ish Coming-of-Age Day kimono.

The so-called “traditional kimono makers” that the article is bemoaning the loss of are NOT serving the normal Japanese. The only people who spend $10,000+ for handwoven silk kimono are a microscopic minority of out-of-touch wealthy with more money than sense— i.e. the douchebags at the Japan’s Imperial Household Agency. Every neighborhood in Tokyo has a few women who sew kimono in their spare time and most ward offices offer kimono sewing classes around Coming-of-Age Day (3Yen / 2008-01-15). As irrelevant as kimono use is to daily life, the kimono industry has been in a stable if glacial decline for the couple decades in Japan.

Bottom Line:
Saying that the “art of traditional kimono making could die out” is like saying the art of traditional beaver-fur top hat blocking is dying out.


Published by


I'm a pale, alien, quadruped who has worked for 25+ years at "Maybe-the-Largest Inc." in Tokyo.

3 thoughts on “Mourning the loss of beaver top hats and Japanese kimono”

  1. Butt-Head wrote:
    “Heh heh heh, you said ‘Beaver’.”

    But Butt-Head, beaver fur top hats were replaced by Japanese silk in the 1890s. Times change and silk top hats were just as nice. Kimono material will change over time in much the same way as kimono use gradually fades away like the wearing of top hats (which are still sold but are rather irrelevant unless you’re a rabbit needing to pulled out of one).

  2. Mo’ betta beaver…Spotted in the wilds of Germany

    translated japanese by bing
    So people are really wearing kimono that instinctively calls out to me. I just had to take a pictures. A 20 year old girl with long hair dyed green.
    D.I.Y. Hey, great.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>