Tokyo exhibition explores the history of traditional Japanese women's clothing

·2-min read
An exhibition looks back on 1,500 years of history of traditional Japanese women's clothing at the Bunka Gakuen Costume Museum in Tokyo.

Calling all kimono lovers! A rare exhibition opens in the Shibuya district of Tokyo, July 15, retracing the 1,500-year history of traditional Japanese women's clothing. As one of the most emblematic pieces of Japanese culture, the kimono will evidently have a special place in the show, offering visitors the opportunity to learn its many secrets, from its symbols to the social messages it sometimes conveys, with a particular focus on the dyeing techniques used to enhance the garment.

As part of its 80th anniversary celebrations, the Kyoto Dyeing and Weaving Cultural Association worked with the Bunka Gakuen Costume Museum, based in Tokyo's Shibuya district, to stage this major exhibition devoted to the evolution of traditional Japanese women's clothing from the Kofun period (around 250-538 CE) to the Meiji period (1868-1912 CE). In all, the show will trace the evolution of Japanese women's clothing, particularly the kimono, over a period of some 1,500 years.

An entire floor will be devoted to period costumes recreated for the occasion, allowing visitors to discover the evolution of techniques used in the manufacture of traditional Japanese clothing, as well as the societal changes encountered by women throughout the centuries. An essential part of Japanese culture, the kimono will be celebrated on a whole floor, showcasing the complex patterns, the wide range of materials used, but also the ancestral dyeing and weaving techniques that make these garments unique in the world. The exhibition also showcases the multitude of clothing trends explored during this period.

Running July 15 to September 28, 2021, the exhibition will be held at Bunka Gakuen Costume Museum , with entry priced at 500 yen (approx. $4.50) for regular admission. It will be accompanied by a series of lectures and workshops on the techniques used in sewing, weaving and dyeing the iconic kimono. More information: .

Christelle Pellissier

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