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Thursday, November 25, 2010

Japan`s Traditional Kimono Now An Endangered Species

The traditional Japanese art of Kimono making is now in trouble of becoming an endangered species. Most craftsmen are over 80 years old with few of the younger generation interested in the art, it is likely their skills will die with them. A few hundred years ago, thousands of craftsmen were making kimono, but today only three families in Japan are left carrying out this traditional work. Leading figures are warning that within a decade the art could die out. The industry is struggling to find ways of passing on its craftsmanship to a new generation. The art involves more than 1000 different processes for each kimono and can take 40 years to master a single technique.

Kimonos are rarely worn by young Japanese, who prefer modern Western clothes. Even if a formal occasion does demand a kimono, most are likely to put on a machine made version of the kimono, which is much cheaper than a traditional handmade kimono. Traditional handmade kimonos usually cost between USD$2,200 and USD$12,400. Mitsukoshi, one of Japan`s oldest and best known department stores, has a kimono salon with more than 30,000 handcrafted costumes. They are currently trying to attract young women with more modern products. One idea or plan is to collaborate with a famous Italian fashion brand to produce bags to go along with kimonos. Hopefully in the near future, Japan`s kimono industry will be saved by being worn by the world`s super-models.

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  1. That's just horrible. It makes me want to go back in time and become a kimono maker. I dream to someday own a kimono by Mitsukoshi.

  2. I am a US guy and i think Kimonos are beautiful and truly compliment a woman.

    1. Thanks Anon, They are beautiful. I love all the yukata during a summer festival in Japan.

  3. I can't help but wonder how Japan maintained the industry in the first place if it takes 40 years to master a single process. I think they are beautiful but I could never afford one.

    1. Thanks Anon, There are quite a lot of skills and professions in Japan that take years to master. The tradition is usually passed down but with the younger generation less inclined to take up these professions they could unfortunately die out soon, which would be a shame.


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